The Patriot

"Excellent"

The Patriot Review


A note to filmmakers who want to make a movie about a war: Please understand that your film does not need to be as long as the actual war itself. We will not hold it against you if it's shorter. As such, I will try to keep this review to a length where you can read it in a few minutes.

The Patriot gives Mel Gibson the opportunity to do something he's never done before: To orate at length about the evils of taxation without representation... oh, okay... and to kill a bunch of damn redcoats!!!

Faced with the death of his wife, The Patriot offers us Gibson the widower pacifist, playing the part of South Carolina colonialist Benjamin Martin, unswayed by arguments that war should be initiated against Britain. When his son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) enlists despite his father's forbiddance, Martin is left at home to raise his other six kids while the war rages around him.

Circumstances arise to take the life of one of the children at the hands of the uber-evil redcoat Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs), which awakens the repressed blood lust in the former soldier Martin. Perhaps one of the best battle scenes ever filmed follows, with Martin and two of his kids picking off 20 redcoats in the forest, leaving Martin covered in gore.

The Patriot soon becomes the epic it was intended to be, with grand colonial battles fought by lines of soldiers politely shooting at one another until one side is dead. But Martin (an amalgam of several real Revolutionaries) brings dirty guerilla tactics to the war, and after forming a militia of scrappy mercenaries, soon he's got General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) running scared.

While The Patriot will draw obvious comparisons to Braveheart, it is actually far more reminiscent of Kevin Costner's Robin Hood sprinkled with a bit of The Last of the Mohicans. Martin lives in the woods and attacks the Brits in small groups, absconding with their booty. There's even a holy man (Rene Auberjonois) and a foreigner (Tchéky Karyo, in a great supporting turn as a French sympathizer) who fight alongside the rebels.

This turns out to be a good thing, because God knows we don't need another Braveheart. The Patriot also turns out to be a message movie, filled with issues regarding honor vs. survival, vengeance vs. forgiveness, negotiation vs. war, and glory vs. sacrifice. This isn't just some ordinary war movie. It's deep, with John Williams' score driving the heart-tugging home and Roland Emmerich's direction not getting in the way. And I say all that in a rare moment of non-sarcasm.

Unfortunately, at close to three hours in length, The Patriot has plenty of time to get hokey. The bad guy is drawn as broadly as a Bond villain, and a gaggle of subplots don't add much to the film, just making it unnecessarily longer. The anti-slavery motif is especially hokey and unneeded.

But, as usual, I quibble. The Patriot, against all expectations, is probably the best movie I've seen this summer to date. And where else can a German director and an Australian star put together a movie about the Revolutionary War. Ah, only in America.

Flag wavers.



The Patriot

Facts and Figures

Run time: 165 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 28th June 2000

Box Office USA: $2.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $215.3M

Budget: $110M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Centropolis Entertainment, Mutual Film Company, Global Entertainment Productions GmbH & Company Medien KG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 82 Rotten: 51

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Benjamin Martin, as Gabriel Martin, as Charlotte Selton, as Col. William Tavington, as Jean Villeneuve, as Col. Harry Burwell, as Anne Howard, as Gen. Cornwallis, as John Billings, as Dan Scott, as Capt. Wilkins, Jay Arlen Jones as Occam, Joey D. Vieira as Peter Howard, as Thomas Martin, as Susan Martin, as Nathan Martin, Bryan Chafin as Samuel Martin, as Charles O'Hara, as William Martin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.