The Patriot

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It's not a perfect movie and has many historical innacuracies, but The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, is a fine film and I enjoy watching it at this time every year, for many reasons, not the least of which is that my father's middle name, Francis, was given him in honor of Francis Marion, the real-life hero that Gibson's character, Benjamin Martin, is primarily based on.

Marion is considered one of the fathers of modern guerilla warfare. He is heavily criticized by some for having slaves and apparently having sex with some of them (which makes him no different from Thomas Jefferson) and for "slaughtering Indians for fun," when documentary evidence showed he was indeed quite unhappy at being ordered to persecute those "poor creatures."

The Patriot is a stunningly beautiful movie with great music, and as long as you basically know the historical inaccuracies -- and most of them are revealed by the filmmakers themselves in the director's commentary, so it's not like they didn't know what they were doing -- it's a great way to live some of the history of the time. I prefer historical dramas that are more, rather than less, historically accurate, but I won't disregard it just because of inaccuracies.

Sure, I'll roll my eyes when Martin shoots his flintlock pistol at about 20 yards while running laterally, or when Tavington shoots a fleeing rider off his horse with a similar pistol at 50 yards. And I know there's no evidence that the British committed many of the atrocities the movie claims, though they certainly did many similar things.

But on the other hand, this movie does the best job I've ever seen of showing what the colonists -- especially in the South -- thought, felt, reacted, and were motivated by: the conflicted loyalties, the philosophical and practical opposition to war, the relative prices of liberty versus death ... it's a tad bit melodramatic, but overall, good stuff.

Next up, a slightly more historically accurate movie, by the same director and producer: Independence Day! A very different kind of movie, and certainly not as interesting or educational or relevant, but a lot of fun. And where The Patriot makes you patriotically angry and ready to go out and fight/die for liberty, Independence Day makes you patriotically warm and fuzzy: go computer geek go, save the world!

I am not sure what's more odd, that the two movies I watch at this time of year are both very different but from the same two people, or that the movie they worked on in between those two -- Godzilla -- was such complete crap.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on July 3, 2007 9:28 PM.

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