“It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.” This phrase is the backbone of the plot of the film “Top Gun: Maverick”, directed by Joseph Kosinsky, starring Tom Cruise, and one of the most anticipated premieres of the year, accompanied by the theme song by Lady Gaga hold my hand. This movie beats the original filmed by Tony Scott thirty-six years ago in terms of technological deployment on the one hand, and the effort that accurately recreates the spirit of aviation pilots on the other. And also, because Behind the visual magnificence, a life is told where the protagonist’s desire makes clear his subjective resignations, how he faces the passage of time and also the rebellion against premature retirement.
In the scenes where the characters fly their jets, they’re actually in the air doing it. Each shot and each plane is handcrafted and taken care of in detail under the watchful eye of Tom Cruise, whom we all know and know that he does not believe in visual tricks, but rather puts his own body in all the action scenes throughout all of them. His movies. Nor is it a war propaganda film, since it was even filmed long before the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It is a film that pays homage to war and adventure cinema such as “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939- Howard Hawks), “The Guns of Navarone” (1961- J. Lee Thompson), “Star Wars” (1977 – George Lucas), among others.
In this way, the heroes and heroines who raise morale a bit in people without labyrinthine paths that movies often show return. In “Top Gun: Maverick” the characters have conflicts that boil down to universal characters like life vs. death, how they push us to retire from a job (or leave without notice or layoff), how talent is generally dismissed because Jealousy and envy do indeed exist.
Then the film begins to show us its main plot: in today’s societies the premature retirement of any person connotes very strong psychic impacts, because dispensing with experience and skill ahead of time feeds erroneous simplistic tendencies of a vision of the future built from the replacement of men by machines. In this case, drones by air pilots. The sustained idea that the important thing is not the plane but the pilot that insists throughout the film is replicated in any professional fieldno matter how distant the world of aviation seems to us.
Without spoiling any, Tom Cruise’s meeting with Val Kilmer is anthological, paradigmatic in relation to classic silent films where language stands out due to the absence of sound, as well as being one of the most forceful scenes in the film. That meeting of two, like the best times of silent movies, crosses the viewer without any content from a multiverse of superheroes coming between them. Ladies and Gentlemen, reality is shown with all the letters that the word can offer us. Maverick is Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is the pilot and the plane simultaneously.
His message is that he will defend his ideals. It will be expensive, laborious and risky, but the day the future arrives it will be there to face it. It will be a path full of risks. Nor will you be alone for such a task. The sentimental in the film does not become a burden and the romance is maintained in a mature way. It is also clear that love is what keeps each one alive, and that the difference that the other poses to us and we accept serves to build it even stronger.
“It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot” It will be a phrase to keep in mind at all times and in all circumstancesfrom our work to each of the instances where public and political powers express themselves in the day to day of any sovereign nation and where we, Argentines, also include ourselves.
*Carlos Gustavo Motta is a psychoanalyst and filmmaker.