The movie A Perfect World is about an escaped Texas convict, Butch, who kidnaps a hostage- an eight year old boy named Philip- and is running from the police, hoping to eventually escape to Alaska.
The two form a strange kind of friendship as they run from the authorities, partly because both of them have daddy issues, so they can relate to each other- Butch’s dad was a criminal who left his family early on, and Philip has been growing up without a dad as well. As the story progresses, Butch attempts to play the role of Philip’s dad, but he has a twisted, selfish view of fatherhood.
This made it where, throughout the movie, I was torn. I couldn’t decide if the relationship between Butch and Philip was sweet or completely creepy.
I decided on creepy.
In fact, so creepy that I think Butch can even be compared to Satan.
He constantly emphasizes to Philip that he should get to do whatever he wants, which is in fact the opposite love. We like to think that lawless freedom is love, but love requires correction too. Love is not simply letting someone do whatever feels good. It is helping another person seek true goodness.
Butch is always asking, “What do you want?” or letting Philip know, “It’s up to you.” This makes Philip feel free and mature, which he never experienced in his sheltered home. However, Butch is not truly offering freedom- he manipulates the boy’s emotions, making what he wants for Philip sound the most appealing. We so often fall into this same trap. We like to seek after easy temptations, and we don’t see where those temptations lead us.
For example, when the convict and his hostage are out of rations, Butch knows that going into a store to buy more food would be too risky. Philip had mentioned earlier that he would like to go trick-or-treating (it’s the day after Halloween, and Philip has never been allowed to go).
Butch takes advantage of this. Philip in his innocence believes his kidnapper is taking him trick-or-treating, but they are stealing.
The young boy rings the doorbell.
“Trick or treat!”
The house owner hints at turning down Philip’s request for candy, but Butch casually flashes his pistol, forcing the lady to promptly give Phillip lots of candy, food, and even some money.
Throughout the movie, Philip thinks he is making his own decisions, when in reality he is doing exactly what his kidnapper wants. Philip lies, steals, and threatens for the man who dragged him out of his home and away from his family.
Honestly, I think this is an exact picture of us as we sin. We think that sin is what we want. Satan makes it seem like a tempting treat. We think we are making free choices when in fact we are playing right into his hands.
We end up tricked into serving the one who is leading us straight to danger and death.
“The devil can site Scripture for his purpose.” -William Shakespeare