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Movie Reviews

The Patriot  

Cast
Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson)
Gabriel Martin (Heath Ledger)
Col. William Tavington (Jason Isaacs)
Charlotte (Joely Richardson)
Col. Burwell (Chris Cooper)
General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson)
Directed by Roland Emmerich Written by Robert Rodat
Rated R for strong war violence Running Time: 160 minutes
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
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The Patriot is an awesome and dramatically driven film. Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a reluctant hero who is swept into the American Revolution when the war reaches his home and threatens his family. A hero of the fierce French and Indian War and a widower, Martin has renounced fighting forever to raise his seven children in peace. But when the British arrive at his South Carolina home and endanger what he holds most dear, Martin takes up arms alongside his idealistic patriot son, Gabriel (Ledger), and leads a brave rebel militia into battle against a relentless British army. Martin realizes that the only way to protect his family is to fight in a war for a nation's freedom.

The Patriot is an outstanding film about family, love and honor. The Revolutionary War stands as the film's backdrop with a father-son relationship between Benjamin and Gabriel as the real story of the film.

Robert Rodat brilliantly wrote the script for The Patriot. Rodat previously wrote the WWII drama Saving Private Ryan, which in my opinion is the best film ever made. With this script, Rodat sets his story during the Revolutionary War. Like in the Saving Private Ryan script, Rodat creates excellent character relationships. Rodat brings in an actual historical character into the script, with the British General Cornwallis (Wilkinson). Rodat also creates well -sequenced and realistic war scenes for the director to capitalize on. Though The Patriot is a great dramatic piece, I liked the light humor that the writer developed in the script. An example is the loyalty Benjamin Martin receives from General Cornwallis' two great danes, in which Martin stole from their master. The film's script is very sharp; I liked everything in it, especially the realism and relationships.

Big budget filmmaker Roland Emmerich directed The Patriot. Emmerich tackled a different type of project with The Patriot; he previously directed Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla. He is a big visual and special effects director, in which, he does a good job directing this dramatic piece. Emmerich first focuses on the relationship and heart of the Martin family, then follows the family with the war elements. The visions of war and the Revolution are captured in fabulous scenes and balanced special effects. Lastly, the director creates effective symbolism, which includes cool shots of the American flag holding strong during a huge war scene.

The whole acting ensemble of The Patriot is terrific and most of all believable. I think that Mel Gibson is one of the only few actors that drives so much motivation into the audience, that you immediately want to join him in the fight for freedom. He previously created this electricity in Braveheart and he does it again in The Patriot as the fearless Benjamin Martin. Newcomer Heath Ledger breaks into stardom with his dynamite performance as Martin's ideal son, Gabriel. One of the many admirable aspects of Ledger's acting is that he is Australian, so he has to create his own American accent. However, you can't tell he is Australian, his American accent is pure and natural. Jason Isaacs creates one of those characters that you just hate from the first moment they appear on the screen. He turns in a superb and in-depth performance as the slimy and cold British Colonel Tavington. Lastly, Tom Wilkinson turns in a firm and egotistic performance as the British war-minded General Cornwallis.

The Patriot does have some brutal and violent scenes involving the battles and causalities of the Revolutionary War. The war scenes are nothing near the impact of Saving Private Ryan or Braveheart, but the scenes in The Patriot are still stellar. Most adult audiences will enjoy this film. It is bold, motivational and heartbreaking. In some sense, it is like watching Braveheart or Last of the Mohicans during the Revolutionary War. I highly recommend The Patriot.

Report Card Grade: A-

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