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Movie of the Day – The Patriot

Posted on the 04 July 2013 by Plotdevice39 @PlotDevices


The Patriot motherfuckers!

The Patriot 1a

Farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) was born and raised in South Carolina, and fought bravely during the French-Indian wars. But since the death of his wife, Benjamin has renounced violence and quietly tends his crops, raising his seven children alone. In 1776, over Benjamin’s objections, his oldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) joins the fight against the British. Gabriel returns from battle seriously wounded, with Lord General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) calling for his arrest. A skirmish breaks out on Benjamin’s plantation, and one of his children is killed as Gabriel is captured by Col. Tavington (Jason Isaacs) and sentenced to hang. Benjamin sets aside his vow of pacifism and rescues Gabriel; with the help of his former comrade-in-arms Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper), the father and son form a regiment of Carolina patriots whose cunning and ruthlessness make them heroes among the colonists — and wanted men by British troops.~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Any movie that has America kicking foreign ass is a cause to celebrate ladies and gentlemen.  The Patriot, not the one with Steven Seagal (although excellent if I do say so myself), is the sort of chest thumping, fist pumping pride that America can take solace in with it’s loose adaptation of the story of Benjamin Martin in the American Revolution.  It’s the sort of historical epic that you can sink your teeth into as the movie blended together a sense of pride and storytelling along with spinning a great yarn with the decisive moments of battles and the common folk who helped out in the war.  The director collaborated with the Smithsonian Institute for accuracy and while I am not a history major, it feels authentic to me.  Entrenching us in the times of turmoil while sucking us in to a difficult time in America.

The Patriot 1b

The movie is one of my more favorite roles for Mel Gibson, you know right before he went fucking nuts, but his portrayal of Benjamin Martin is intense and commanding.  That is the sort of figure that requires a touch of intensity and Gibson is able to pull off the farmer turned revolutionary leader.  Gibson does show that he has that ability to waver between a calm, stoic individual and a man of action.  He absolutely carries the film in my opinion, but is also backed by the late Heath Ledger, who plays the cocksure son who just jumps into the war, not thinking about what is truly at stake.  The two leads offer an opposing look at the sides of the battle and those involved.  One does it because he has a strong sense of pride, protecting his country without thought given to anything else.  Then the other man is one who has seen war and experienced what it brings, taking stock in what he has now in life and never wanting war or death to come back to him.  With everything at stake, both fight because they have seen what will happen to them if they don’t act.  Their interacting brings a lot of emotional weight to the roles and makes for the most compelling of interactions.

The Patriot certainly isn’t just all dramatics, as the battle sequences are intense and frankly fairly graphic.  Dudes are getting their heads taken off by fucking cannonballs.  I always just see soldiers dying by the explosion/impact of the cannon, not getting no scoped by some cannonball being shot into a crowd.  The physical depiction of war and the battles brings a lot more realism and weight to the proceedings, with the stakes being thrown in your face with the death of the soldiers and watching Gibson hatchet fools to death.  But the struggle for independence and the revolution is always going to be bloody, so the director didn’t hold back with the realism.  I will say the battles are the highlight of the movie, if only to see how combat was conducted back then like idiots.  Standing and taking turns, what the hell?

Overall I really enjoy the movie, even if it is a bit too jingoistic for some and paints the British is utterly horrific light, but hey, this is America and we like our villains to be villainy.

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