Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Baptizing "A Shot in the Dark"

One of my absolute favorite films of all time turns 50 this week. Blake Edwards’s “A Shot in the Dark” is the sort of intelligent and yet silly fun comedy that they just don’t make anymore. If asked to create a list of the funniest films of all time, this one would seriously contend for the top spot. And, by comedy standards, that is near enough to make it a great film.

The bonus factor that definitely puts this on my list of greatest films of all time is the message that the film delivers. At least in my view the message comes across rather clearly. I have written elsewhere about how the character of Clouseau is a great picture of an innocent, good man in a broken fallen world. It is here in “A Shot in the Dark” where theat aspect comes across most clearly. Here, however, there is another aspect to his character that merits mention.

In this story, Clouseau is a great picture of faith. He is called in to an important murder investigation and immediately falls in love (infatuation at least) with the main suspect. His faith in her goodness prohibits him from seeing her as guilty. He simply believes in her innocence. Now, that faith does not make her innocent. As it turns out, he has placed his faith in something that happens to be true. He just looks to all the world like an idiot for believing something so visibly unlikely.

As the film and the investigation proceed, Clouseau makes crazy decisions and continually “lucks” his way into doing the right thing, even when it never seems to be that at the time. He uncovers the truth despite his incompetence, and proves that reality and truth will out in the end, and it pays to have placed one’s faith in the right story.

For all the clever theologians out there, Biblical faith boils down to a bit of Clouseau when you come right down to it. Those of us who believe in the “things hoped for” and the “things not seen” come across as foolish in the eyes of those who don’t. But it is love and good that compel us to do so, and the providential “luck” we experience again and again in faith are pretty good indications to those observing this story to know who to root for in the long run.

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