Sunday, June 28, 2020

Believe Care Invest: Casablanca

Why it might be hard to identify with Rick:
  • We don’t even meet him for 9 full minutes, and we wait even longer for him to speak. We spend that time looking for some character to invest in, not finding one, and getting frustrated. Once we meet him, he’s fairly cold and ruthless, and somewhat accommodating of his Nazi occupiers.
  • The opening narration creates a complex and fascinating world that feels very real. The production design is fantastic. It really feels like we’re in an outdoor African city rather than an indoors Los Angeles studio.
  • Rick has a distinctive way of dressing and speaking. He has a strong personality. He has lots of secrets, which we always like: “I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “What waters? We’re in the desert.” “I was misinformed.”
  • Nazis are everywhere. Someone is gunned down in the street for having Free French fliers. Rick clearly dislikes having to accommodate them. He betrays just a tiny hint of wistfulness when he watches the plane fly off to Lisbon. He likewise betrays a hint of guilt when Ugarte is pulled out of his arms by the Nazis. He’s a bit embarrassed when another customer says to him, “When they come to get me, Rick, I hope you’ll be more of a help.” But of course we don’t really care about him until his true love shows up married to someone else.
  • He has total control of his bar in lots of badass ways, and a lot of sway in Casablanca. “Perhaps if you told him I run the second largest banking house in Amersterdam?” “It wouldn’t impress Rick, the leading banker in Amersterdam is now the baker in our kitchen.” He finds little ways to stand up to the Nazis He knows all. He knows that Ugarte killed the couriers and calls him on it.
Five Es
  • Eat: No. “Madame, he never drinks with customers, never.”
  • Exercise: No
  • Economic Activity: Lots of it
  • Enjoy: No, he specifically refuses wine, women, and song.
  • Emulate: No
Rise above
  • Refuses Deutchbanker’s money “You’re lucky the bar’s open to you.”
  • Café and Sam not for sale at any price “I don’t buy or sell human beings.”
  • Tells one of his bar customers, “You’ve had too much to drink.”
High five a black guy
  • Very much so! Sam won’t take double to work for Ferrari.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating that Rick doesn't do any of the "five Es" empathy shortcuts, except for the E that doesn't seem as closely related with the rest, and he's also a late-introduction type hero.

It certainly is interesting to see what techniques these movies employ. Will you be making a "what does it all mean" post after collecting these data? What theorem is to made here?

Matt Bird said...

I'm gathering as much data as I can before I start crunching it to see what we find.