Reviewed by: Ken James
|Featuring||Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Tcheky Karyo, Jason Isaacs, Lisa Brenner|
|Producer||Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn|
Mel Gibson is Benjamin Martin, a South Carolina widower living in a time when his neighbors favor war with England. But he does not favor war. It’s not that he’s a pacifist; as an ex-Army captain he is famous around the land for his brutal tactics in previous battles with the French. It’s his role as a father that convinces him to oppose war with England. He knows the price that will be paid on their family; the fighting that will be waged on their land. But when the British mercilessly kill Benjamin’s son, he becomes compelled to fight for justice.
The American colonies quickly become engaged in battle with the British. Martin gathers together a vigilante army who regularly engage the British in ambushes and non-traditional fighting that help even the score and cause fear to strike the British army. Plenty of brutal and bloody violence is seen throughout “The Patriot,” as these men and others involved in various intense battles fight it out to the bitter end.
Technically, “The Patriot” is excellent. With an engaging plot and great acting, this historical drama is sure to please grateful Americans and history buffs wanting an action-packed, but tender story about the birth of a new nation—the United States of America. Even those not so interested in history will be compelled by the story of the underdog pressing on through impossible circumstances. I doubt the British will be too pleased with “The Patriot”. Their countrymen during this time in history are portrayed as largely merciless and brutal, shallow and traditional, caring not for the innocent, but merely interested in the ends despite the means.
From a Christian perspective, there is very little to be cautious about in “The Patriot”. For those not comfortable with brutal violence, stay away from this one (though it is not as graphic as the similar “Braveheart”, ironically also starring Mel Gibson as the underdog leader). For others, “The Patriot” is well worth your time. As in “Saving Private Ryan”, Americans are again given a realistic view of war. We are truly indebted to our forefathers who bravely fought united for our freedom. Have you hugged a vet today?
The language is kept to a minimum—only a few instances of d*mn and h*ll. There is no hint of sexual impropriety or nudity. Christianity plays an important role during this time in the history of America, and in this film it is shown prominently and positively. Even the hero is seen praying on many occasions. Also, a Christian minister takes up arms against the British and maintains great compassion for those around him as he fights a long war. Scenes of crosses and churches are often. Morality is applauded.
War is never pretty, and that truth is preached throughout this film. A strong anti-slavery message is also present as initial contempt for black Americans becomes true honor through many instances of sacrifice and bravery. “The Patriot” contains many redeeming qualities; an excellent choice for most teens and adults.