The classic revolutionary war movie that hit my favorites easily.
Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is a South Carolinian farmer whose wife has recently died. Unwilling to go to war because of 7 kids and a farm to take care of, his oldest son (Heath Ledger) joins the army.
When the war comes home to Benjamin though, and strikes deep, things change.
Benjamin joins the army with his son and starts a guerrilla militia, fighting in the non-conventional style of ambushing the unsuspecting British and not lining up in neat lines to be shot.
Enter the antagonist.
Dragoon colonel Tavington is the epitome of "the ends justify the means", and brutality and horror is all fair game in war against traitors and rebels. Humiliated by constant attacks and losing every time, Tavington gets downright dirty to get Benjamin and his crew, and stops at nothing - literally - to get him.
The movie climaxes in the monumental battle of Cowpens, where Tavington and Benjamin finally go at it head to head.
Oh my, where to start.
I am presently studying the revolutionary war, so this movie was perfectly timed. Also, with the state that our nation is in, it is doubly perfectly timed.
This movie portrays the monumental balance between trying to keep peace and staying home with your family, and then taking up arms to defend them when nothing else will do. Benjamin is haunted by his past military life, and shuns the commencement of it as long as he can, until Tavington strikes, which sends him out to war with his son and any other patriot that will join the cause for freedom. Then, when he seems to lose everything and he wants to back out, the vision that his son propounded of freedom and endurance in the cause, keeps him going to get the job done and fight for the freedom of those he loves.
This movie shows the sacrifice of the men who came out to fight the British, and the cost to them and their families, and the endurance it took to fight through all odds, even when it seemed it wasn't worth the effort, or a hopeless cause.
This movie shows how men need to rise up and fight for what they believe in, but it also shows the brutality of war and that it should be avoided at all costs and used only as the last stand when constant appeals to make peace were fruitless.
One neat thing that was played kinda low was the humility of Benjamin. In fact, in the end, it is the pride of Tavington that kills him, and Benjamin stays humble and calls his sons better men than himself. It was only a slight tone through the movie, but it still was there.
Also, (this may seem odd in the Good section) The bad guy was downright EVIL. I don't like bad guys who are bad but have a hint of good and are just outside of likable. I like bad guys who are so bad that you want to jump through the screen, punch him in the nose and shoot him where he lays.
Tavington was so bad, I wanted to jump through the screen, punch him in the nose and shoot him twice where he lays. He was that bad. Smooth tongued, but it was forked. Skilled, but from practice at evil. You could almost see the horns.
Then, the hero is not some image of human perfection. He is an average man, with his own struggles and faults, trying to do his best and do what was right.
Needless to say, I loved it.
Take a wild guess. Cussing, of course. Actually, the amount of cussing (or lack thereof) really took me back. Sure it's there, but I would say its the least I have ever seen in any war movie ever. Probably under ten words for the entire two and a half hours of movie.
One lady, the main girl character, has her dress a *little tight* and a *little low* on the top. Granted, part of it had to do with the corset and the style back then, but still, its there, and you have to guard your eyes as she traipses in and out of the screen.
Premarital kissing. *Rolling eyes* Grrr. That's so annoying.
One interesting scene, handled fine, but still kinda objectionable, is when the son stays the night at the girl he wants to marry's house, and the father of the girl lets him sleep in the same room as her with the door shut.
BUT. To prevent any shenanigans, the family has a tradition of sewing the guy up in a complete body bag with only his head showing to keep any funny business from happening overnight. Interesting way to handle that, but I still completely don't agree with it.
Lots of gore. This is the Revolutionary War. There is blood, guts, and lots of it all over. There are a few scenes that took even me by surprise. So, you have to be able wade through that. Not exactly family friendly.
There is also a decent note of revenge through the movie, between Gabriel and his father, and the evil colonel Tavington. It ends up being the undoing of Gabriel, and Tavington in the end as well.
Overall, I rate the movie 4 stars. The one star is out mostly due to the immodesty of the one lady, the kissing, and the aspect of revenge though it.
Not recommended for kids under about 13.