Author Drew Cordell explores the nature of truth through the lens of a 90s classic movie 

One of the earliest adult movies I can remember watching as a child was A Few Good Men. It starred 90s royalty Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. It was Aaron Sorkin’s first major breakthrough as a writer, and there is one line from that movie that is iconically quoted regularly some 31 years after its release.

“You can’t handle the truth”, bellows Jack Nicholson’s character Colonel Jessup from the witness stand in the pinnacle moment of the movie. When it is said, it hits you in the heart as a moviegoer, knowing that the game is up for him and his cabal of conspirators.

Jack Nicholson’s line has continued to resonate to this day. Because we as humans struggle to reckon with truth, especially when it forces us to confront our own personal error and/or misjudgement. We have all encountered those inward “oh dear, I might have this wrong” moments over the years, where our stomachs churn with the realisation of our own weakness and fallibility. This often leads us to a burying of ones’ head in the sand, avoiding difficult conversations/admissions with the hope of preserving our inner self-esteem and identity.


Read more:

Teach the world to sing in a minor key

What do Kate Bush and Jesus have in common?

Indoctrination: The potential dangers of Hollywood films

Are movies a gateway to the Gospel?


My truth 

To our detriment I feel, it seems that our appetite of pursuing truth has waned to such an extent, that we struggle to even acknowledge the existence of truth. The phrases “my truth”, “your truth”, “their truth”, are heard more than ever now, when previously they would have been regarded as mere gibberish. 

I am about to release a book which explains the best evidence and arguments for why someone might trust in the Christian faith. Some have thought it worthwhile that I include a chapter which examines the proposition of truth. But to be frank, such a chapter I don’t think is worthy of my time, or posturing. I can dispel the idea of “subjective truth” in one sentence to be precise: To say there is no ultimate truth is to convey that an ultimate truth exists. 

I don’t believe that anyone “truly” believes that “truth” is subjective. But to quote Matt Damon’s character Tom Ripley from the film Talented Mr Ripley: “I thought it was always better to be a fake somebody, than a real nobody”, seems to be an awkwardly realised “truth” in today’s culture.


Get access to exclusive bonus content & updates: register & sign up to the Premier Unbelievable? newsletter!


The truth 

It is my personal hope that people consider the reality that is truth. It is my hope that people consider the truth that they are of equal value to anyone else in this world. It is my hope that people consider the truth that God created them. 

It is my hope that people consider the truth that God loves them. It is my hope that people consider the truth that Jesus died for them. It is my hope that people consider the truth, that God is invested in them, and every living breathing moment of their everyday lives.

I believe there is such a thing as truth, and I suspect like Colonel Jessup, you know this to be true too.


Drew Cordell is a business consultant who has worked alongside some of the world’s most successful businesses and their leaders in an extensive corporate career in both London and Australia. His new book Honest Christianity: Why People Choose to Believe is available on Amazon and all good bookstores.