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Movie Critic Article: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)

“We all owe God a death,” says Ryder.
"We each owe God a life,” responds Garber.
From the movie

Original Article by: Mohsen Khalid

The philosophical perspective of this movie arises from the events of a terrorist plot aimed at extorting a large sum of money. One of the two main characters in the movie ceases subway train Pelham 123 in New York and holds the passengers as hostages.
It is one of the most important films for both Denzel Washington and John Travolta as it grants them, more than ever before, the opportunity to exhibit their ultimate skills as actors. The film is based, in essence, on the exchange between these two men while the drama in the content only serves to support the philosophical themes conveyed in their dialogue. A dialogue that is really geat,simple and has a sweeping effect that could inevitably lead the unwary of its sedition into the same destructive and declining fate which befell Andrey Yefimitch, the physician in the story by Anton Chekhov (Ward No.6) see clip below.
Ryder (John Travolta), the subway train highjaker is fond of insightful philosophical conversations and, like Chekhov's character, has a sort of religious upbringing that does not help prevent his decline. Garber (Denzel Washington), the subway train dispatcher picks this hidden interest in religion by Ryder when, at one point, they talk about family matters: (Are you a man who pays his debts?) and so on. For Ryder such thing as 'paying the mortgage' is an indication of the state of being bound by marriage, implying that a free person does not have to abide. Garber then asks Ryder about his religious beliefs or whether he is Catholic. (..a good Catholic would know he's got a trainload of innocent people.)
Ryder is so fascinated by his dialogue with Garber that he has to shoot one of the hostages in protest when Garber is replaced by a police negotiator! To a similar impact was the deep existential and philosophical dialogue in (Ward No. 6) between the physician Andrey Yefimitch and one of his patients, a smart and cultured Ivan Dmitritch whose doubts of persecution had lead him into paranoia. In Chekhov's story the physician becomes addicted to dialogue with his patient and starts to visit him more than is usual. Suspecions arise and another physician listens in to the deep and serious conversations of the two. Ultimately, Dr. Yefimitch is cast into the same ward as a madman and is beaten to death by his paranoid 'ex-patient'.
The mayor of New York in "The Taking of Pelham" is noted to infer an escape route for Ryder and his gang from the interview of Garber with Ryder. The dramatic structure of the movie has it that Ryder dies, specifically, at the hands of Garber.
Near the end of the movie, we are treated to another sensational dialogue between the
two men in which Ryder wants Garber to shoot him before the arrival of the police who
are concealed in a faraway foggy horizon. Far enough to allow the two men to talk.
The Taking of Pelham 123* (2009)

Drama (Hostage/negotiation/action thriller)
Rated R, 121 min, Color.
Cast: Denzel Washinton, John Travolta,
John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Michael Rispoli.
Directed by:  Tony Scott
(Enemy of the State, Crimson Tide, Man of Fire)
Written by: Brian Helgeland, John Godey
Official Movie Website:    
* This movie is a remake! Someone was asked what is the difference between
this Pelham and the one from 1974?  He said:
- Well the ransom money was raised from one million dollar in the 1974 version
to 10 millions in the 2009 version.
But, they are different!

Below is a movie trailer for (Ward No. 6):


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