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Patriot

A movie directed by Roland Emmerich

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The Patriot; Stirring, moving drama...

  • Jul 4, 2000
  • by
Rating:
+5
Pros: Realistic Battle scenes, depliction of family...

Cons: A slow start at the beginning...

The men who gave birth to this nation in 1776 were a rare breed of men indeed. They were simple farmers, artisans, hunters, trappers, and tradesmen and yet they were responsible for two of the nations most treasured documents and arbiters of great intellectually thought. They were all patriots and I wonder in what regard they would hold us if they were to pop in for a visit and observe the modern American society in action.

I went to go see The Patriot because I do love a great war flick, and I love history. And because this is the first movie to address The Revolutionary War and the effects it had at a grass-roots level. The Patriot staring Mel Gibson is the story of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of one South Carolina family. Mel Gibson’s character, widower Benjamin Martin has seven children (five boys and two girls) and lives on a tobacco farm in South Carolina. He runs the farm with the help of free slaves, and his family whom he is completely devoted to! Benjamin Martin is also a local war hero, having fought and distinguishing himself in the French and Indian war several years prior.

In the opening scenes of the movie he is summoned to Charleston, the capitol of the colony of South Carolina, to vote with other members of the Assembly on weather or not the colony should form a militia in support of the Continental Army. Mel casts his vote against such a move and believes war against England would be foolish, self destructive, and counter-productive. He questions during the debate on the Assembly floor, “why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away?” However, the Assembly votes to support the Continental Army and his oldest son Gabriel, is one of the first to enlist. Benjamin is of course against this, but his son is of age and free to do what he will.

So the war rages on for two years and Benjamin refuses to take part until the war eventually makes its way to his very doorstep. The catalyst that propels him into the war is the death of his next oldest son, Thomas at the hands Col. William Tavington, a brutal English officer who lacks honor and respect for the colonials. Here is where I will stop, because I do not want to give any more of the movie away. Sufficed to say that from this point on the action moves at a brisk pace.

Mel Gibson brings his trademark intensity to this film and elevates it to new heights. He has a way of drawing you into a film like no other actor can, save Lawrence Fishburn and Denzel Washington. You can see it in his eyes, they way they seem to burn through your skin and connect to your soul and almost make you feel and understand what his character is feeling and experiencing. How he able to achieve such intensity is a wonderful mystery and it is what draws me to his films, no matter what the subject.

This film has been criticized for being too corny (?); I guess they were referring to Benjamin’s rather unabashed love and devotion to his children. Is there a lesson there for us modern day Americans? I suppose they were also talking about his devotion to his country and flag. Is being patriotic and loyal to ones country now to be considered “corny?” Do we now believe in nothing but the pursuit of happiness through monetary pursuits? Another lesson to be learned perhaps!

The Patriot is rated “R” and for good reason, it is bloody and graphic, not unlike Saving Private Ryan and I would not bring, or let my young children (under 16 at least) see this film. Then again war not matter how “civilized” and dressed up in honor is never a pretty thing to experience.

Perhaps as we celebrate the 224th birthday of our nation this 4th we will stop and reflect on the meaning of Patriotism and self sacrifice for the greater good. And we would do well to look around ourselves and appreciate what we have and honor those would have gone before to secure the blessing of liberty and our prosperity! Freedom was not then, and is not now free!

The Cast:

Mel Gibson (Benjamin Martin)
Heath Ledger (Gabriel Martin)
Joely Richardson (Charlotte Selton)
Chris Cooper (Colonial Harry Burwell)
Jason Isaacs (Colonial William Tavington)
Tcheky Karyo (Jean Villaneuve)
Tom Wilkinson (General Cornwallis)
Gregory Smith (Thomas Martin)
Mika Boorem (Margaret Martin)
Skye McCole Bartusiak (Susan Martin)
Trevor Morgan (Nathan Martin)
Logan Lerman (William Martin)
Bryan Chafin (Samuel Martin)




Recommended:
Yes

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More Patriot reviews
review by . May 02, 2004
Pros: Heath Ledger is absolutely gorgeous; nice sets and costumes     Cons: script; too much symbolism; plot circles around Mel Gibson and not his character     The Bottom Line: Not my type of movie. Too gory, too long.     Oh. Whoops. That was a quote from a different Mel Gibson movie.      Don't get me wrong; I love Mel Gibson. I liked him in this movie, too. However, he paled in comparison to his costar Heath Ledger. …
review by . May 02, 2004
Pros: Heath Ledger is absolutely gorgeous; nice sets and costumes     Cons: script; too much symbolism; plot circles around Mel Gibson and not his character     The Bottom Line: Not my type of movie. Too gory, too long.     Oh. Whoops. That was a quote from a different Mel Gibson movie.      Don't get me wrong; I love Mel Gibson. I liked him in this movie, too. However, he paled in comparison to his costar Heath Ledger. …
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #188
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie

Wiki

Mel Gibson stars in this action-packed historical drama from the director of INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA. Gibson portrays Benjamin Martin, an unassuming South Carolina widower who is forced to join the American Revolution when the British threaten to take his farm away from him. Together with his patriotic son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), the pair faces the vicious Redcoats with a heroism that reflects the stubborn pride of a young country's most dedicated supporters. THE PATRIOT is a sweeping epic adventure that sheds light on America's past, and at the same time entertains audiences.
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Details

Director: Roland Emmerich
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (May 28, 2002)
Runtime: 2hr 45min
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