The Patriot is an American historical war film that mainly takes place in rural South Carolina and depicts the story of an American swept into the Revolutionary War when his family is threatened. Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012), and written by Robert Rodat. The film features Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper, and Tom Wilkenson. Running Time: 165 minutes (175 minutes, extended cut). (Rated R for strong war violence)
In honor of this fourth of July, I thought I would review a film more “patriotic” and share it with y’all…
The Patriot film had been in works for years in the nineties, with Robert Rodat writing over seventeen drafts before there was an acceptable one to shoot with. Originally, Harrison Ford was going to play the lead, but turned it down, feeling the script had boiled down the Revolutionary War to a “one-man’s-revenge” story, and backed out. The movie went on to be shot all in South Carolina. Gibson received $25 million for his part as Benjamin Martin, and a cut of the earnings at the box office, so the film could not afford to cast their first choice for the main antagonist of the film, which would have been Kevin Spacey.
The story follows one man’s actions during the Revolutionary War, and only strays occasionally away from him to touch on his family and the men that served under him. A focused story. But they do try to center on the desire of freedom, which I think is one of the great points that must be made in Revolutionary War film.
Concerning acting, perhaps not Gibson’s finest hour–still good, nevertheless–but the more I watch Jason Isaacs, the more I enjoy his talent as a great, sly, eye-wandering villain. The film has several appropriate supporting actors, who I am sure had larger roles in the first cut of the film, but had to be toned down due to the original length that was over three hours.
Roland Emmerich would never be my first choice as a director for any film, I personally feel. He knows how to lengthen a suspense film with multiple characters who have no point in being on screen, and anti-climatic deaths. But I suppose in mind of The Patriot, there had to be a hint of the disaster genre, and he fit the bill for the studio. It is not that he did an awful job, but I know the positive focus on this film was not in the director’s chair.
John Williams’s score is truly wonderful! It sends you back to the 1770s! The three Oscars were justly given! He will go down in history as one of the great film composers.
Oh, in the end, 5 out of 7 stars.