Movie Review: The Patriot
Release Date: June 28, 2000
by Alex Keen
Published: June 28, 2000
USA, 2000 - Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures Entertainment - 164 minutes
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin
Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin
Joely Richardson as Charlotte Selton
Jason Isaacs as Col. William Tavington
Additional information available at the Internet Movie Database.
So I went to see the Patriot tonight with mediocre to exceptional expectations. Either it would be like ID4 and Stargate or more like Braveheart. It turns out the appeal of this movie similar to Braveheart. Better in some areas, not so good in others. As I have written in a previous column, the person with the most to gain is relative newcomer Heath Ledger. After seeing every film that I could get my hands on (two that is), Ledger proved to me that he only has a greater future ahead of himself. His intensity matches those actors in the Russel Crowe level of actors, and yet his charm meshes wonderfully with Gibson. As long as he doesn't get carried away with a Leo-type power trip, he will succeed in Hollywood.
Now to the actual movie. The story is a good one, although not overly political and complex. It does depend on the battle scenes to keep the pace going, but it never splits itself. Unlike Braveheart, this film does not feel portioned off. It keeps itself direct and simple in its focus. It keeps winners and losers easily discernable, and allows for natural human emotion to entertain the audience. Unlike Gladiator, Private Ryan, and Braveheart, the battle sequences in this film are not meant to bowl you over with stuff you haven't seen before. They are not boring you overly gruesome warfare. What is presented is an honest depiction of warfare that focuses on characters and symbols. When you see it you will understand.
Finally my overall feelings for this film are positive. Devlin and Emmerich did not make the greatest film this year, and I don't forsee any Oscars coming its way, but I do feel it was better than Gladiator. While Gladiator tried to justify the cliches it clung to, Patriot makes them blatant and is not afraid to confess. Sometimes accepting the reality that what your saying has been pieced together from previous works is not a bad thing.
Overall: (7 out of 10)