Destiny on the Screen
The idea that all happenings follow a predetermined course of events, is a widely respected belief, evident in the lives of a great part of the world’s population. Like many other aspects of life (love, romance, tragedy) the manifestation of destiny in the lives of people, is often the center plot of show business. Today, the film industry is host to a huge repertoire of movies, TV shows and series, each with a unique and shimmering perspective of Destiny. Among that flustering list, these titles stand out.
One facet of destiny every living thing on the face of the planet has to come to terms with is death. Eventually, regardless of your race, social status, influence, etc. we all get to die someday. The final destination series depicts just how inescapable this fate is with an added touch of gory. The 2011 Itinerary of the movie follows the life of one group of friends who had been predestined to die on their trip, and like is with most films in the franchise, this sad fate is revealed to one member of the group. In a classical destiny tale style, they try as they may, but there was no escaping this gruesome fate. And in most instance, it was their attempt to flee from supposed danger zones that resulted in their unfortunate death.
In the case of final destination, Sam Lawton was the Prophet Elijah – the prophet of doom. On their bus trip, he was faced with a vision that clearly visualized how he and almost everyone on the bus will die from an accident at the upcoming bridge, Lawton managed to convince everyone to abandon ship. Just as the catastrophic bridge collapsing, he had earlier saw began to manifest, everyone on the bus was saved, or so they thought.
When Candice, one of the survivors, went for her regular gymnastics practice, she was met with an elaborate sequence of events that ultimately culminated in her death. The next day Isaac, another survivor died at his acupuncture session. His death is followed by Olivia and by this time Sam Lawton realized that people were dying in the order they did in his vision. The remaining survivors receive a tip that by taking the life of someone else, they would replace their destined fall with the life of that person – subconsciously each surviving member of the group began searching for a life to take; two were successful, Sam and Nathan. Thinking they had escaped impending doom, Sam and his girlfriend decided to vacate the city to start a new life, but destiny not to be messed with caught up with them as their plane went up in flames mid-air. Ironically the landing gear from the ill-fated plane pummels through the roof before crushing Nathan to his death.
In the end, no one escaped their destined death
Wanted while the Final Destination franchise lacks a slasher character that orchestrated the inevitable death, Wanted incorporates a slasher figure or more appropriately a group of slashers. The group is directed by an heirloom that determines who get to live and who gets to die, in this context this loom is the unequivocal force of destiny – and the group is the mechanism that undertakes the destined fall. The movie follows the life of Wesley, who lived a troubled life with a shitty job and a cheating girlfriend. However, all this changed when he was recruited by the group to be its latest destiny orchestrator in more direct terms (assassinator). He is pumped full of money and subsequently trained on the rudiments of killing in preparation for his ultimate task which was killing a man named Cross, who according to the group leader, Sloan had been destined to die by the loom.
At the end of his training and after other successful demo missions, he finally faced Cross. Unknown to him, Sloan had ordered another group member, Fox (a character played by Angelina Jolie) to kill Wesley as soon as he was done killing Cross, which was supposedly the grand wish of the heirloom. Fox complied and as the Cross and Wesley duel in the train, she crashed a car into it causing its derailment. Wesley is left hanging over a pit, and in a surprising turn of events, he is saved by Cross. Wesley repays the favor by shooting Cross who with his final breath, reveals to him that he is, in fact, his biological father. Fox confirms this and goes on to explain that Wesley was contracted to kill Cross because he was the only person Cross wouldn’t kill. Before Fox could complete her mission of killing Wesley, he jumped off into a pit and is later rescued by Pekwarsky, a close associate of Cross.
Pekwarsky further reveals to Wesley that Sloan had been manipulating the Loom’s calls after the Loom pinpointed him as the next target. It was when Cross, Wesley’s father discovered this that he went rogue. Wesley is infuriated and attacks the group’s headquarters, and in the final battle scene, he is surrounded by seven assassins including Fox. Wesley narrated the real story to this group before Sloan then revealed that they all, Fox inclusive, had been targeted by the Loom; he then presented them with two options ignore the call of the Loom, kill Wesley and go on profiteering from their abilities or obey the call of Destiny and vanquish themselves. Destiny (personified as the will of the loom) was however not meant to be a choice. Stunningly, Fox curved a bullet through the skulls of the ensemble of assassins circled around Wesley, killing the bulk of the assassins (including herself). Sloan managed to escape but as is expected had his due date with destiny, and in this case, Wesley was the hand of fate.
The Slumdog Millionaire
Although Destiny is known to manifest sometimes by a miraculous turn of events, for the most part, regular daily occurrences are what set the tone for the manifestation of Destiny. Very few movies demonstrate how seemingly trivial events in the life of an individual, set up such an individual into the expression of destiny like the 2008 drama ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’.
Born in the slums, Jamal Malik, an 18-year-old Indian, managed to secure for himself the hot seat of the Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire.’ Quite surprisingly, he scaled through 14 of the 15 questions. But before he had the opportunity to answer the final question for the grand prize of $310,000 the show ended for the night.
Perplexed on how a penniless and uneducated ‘slum-kid’ was able to answer 14 questions correctly, the organizers reached out to the police, on the grounds of fraud and deceit. Instead of finding evidence of fraud, the police Inspector spent the night learning about the multi-layered and intriguing life of Jamal. How he managed to circumvent the scarring life of living in the slum, his no love lost relationship with his brother and more importantly what is best described as the ‘destined’ chain of events that granted him the answers to all of the initial 14 questions of the show. Suffice it to say that his account was enough to convince the laser-eyed inspector.
The case of destiny being the orchestrator of all things big and small is made more convincing when one considers how Jamal got a seat in the show in the first instance. While most people come on to the show in search of financial independence, Jamal was there for his estranged lover who slipped his grasp for more than once. If he had managed to reunite with her in any of his previous attempts, he would have missed out on the opportunity to star in the game show. Starring on the game show who wants to be a millionaire, watched by almost everyone with a TV in India, was his final attempt at making a connection with her and in so doing, he did not only connected with her but also with his lifelong destiny of escaping the unholy grasp/embrace of poverty.
Several other movie titles illustrate the concept of Destiny each with style markedly dissimilar from the rest. In the series Lost, Destiny is portrayed as something that is to be discovered – more like a self-fulfilling path if you like. Sliding doors, the 1998 drama which follows the life of Helen Quilley, her trials and tribulations depicts destiny as an ordained end that manifests regardless of the road to manifestation. In this 1998 drama, the life of Helen Quilley is split into two parallel universes, and in each, she leads a different life. The outcome of her life in both worlds, was, however, the same – it was one where she lost her husband and child, before falling in love with a new person. In her case and as is with destiny in real life, its manifestation is independent of the path we take because, in the end, all roads lead to our destined future.