Projections - Movie Reviews

The Patriot The Patriot

Mel Gibson plays a vengeful hero in this violent yet entertaining summer adventure.

He is Benjamin Martin, a widower with seven children living in South Carolina during the revolutionary war.

Benjamin refuses to join the war effort as a continental, because of his bloody experience in the French and Indian War and because of his children, but he is drawn into the fight because of his eldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger).

Gabriel enlists and is wounded while carrying out his job as courier.  He stumbles home to be treated and is captured by the evil British Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs).  This officer is so despicable, he not only takes Gabriel away to be hung, but shoots his younger brother when he tries to intervene, giving Benjamin Martin all the reason he needs to become a one man army, hell bent on revenge.

In one of the more brutal scenes, one of many, Benjamin and two of his young sons hide out and ambush a British convoy, killing the officers first.  The attack is carried out so quick and precise, the sole survivor says the perpetrator was "a ghost."

General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) who seems more interested in his wardrobe and writing his memoirs, instructs his officers to adhere to the gentlemanly rules of war.  But when Benjamin, who was made head of the militia by his friend Col. Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper-American Beauty), gets the best of his men one too many times, he orders bulldog Tavington to track Benjamin down.

Director Roland Emmerich displays an adept hand at filming the battle scenes, which are every bit as violent as Gibson's Braveheart.  The custom of opposing sides lining up and marching towards one another while shooting, makes the closeness of each death seem more brutal.  Also, wars are supposed to be fought by men, but children are seen taking up the cause, and women and children are sought out and murdered here.

Gibson does a great job portraying this dedicated father and soldier.  Although the British are always depicted as evil or arrogant, and the continentals as pure patriotic committed heroes, the film remains engrossing.

The Patriot, at 2½ hours long, is an entertaining, exciting and action filled summer movie.

The Patriot

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