Being Canadian, I probably know fewer details of the Revolutionary War
than the average U.S. viewer, but note that many seem absolutely
outraged at the historical untruths of this movie. When I watched it, I
personally found it quite captivating but always have enough sense not
to get my history from Hollywood. Since my viewing, I've looked up some
info and note various inaccuracies such as misplaced characters,
exaggeration of British atrocities, inaccurate torching of a church
with townsfolk inside being burned alive, and depiction of American
owned slaves being freed to serve in the Continental Army. (Apparently,
it was the British who promised to free them if they joined their
forces, but later reneged.) My apologies if my facts aren't straight.
It's the FICTIONAL story of a widowed South Carolina farmer, Benjamin Martin, who is disgusted by his past supposedly heroic deeds during the French Indian Wars. He has resolved to avoid participation when the Colonies revolt against Britain and stay home to protect his seven children. However, he witnesses atrocities against his two older sons, Gabriel and Thomas, by the cruel British Colonel Tavington. Gabriel, the oldest, has joined the battle against the Redcoats early on, been captured, and sentenced by Tavington to hang. Thomas, the second son, attempts to free Gabriel as he is being taken away, only to be killed by Tavington right in front of his father. This forces the reluctant Benjamin into the fray, organizing a local militia group of farmers and ex Indian fighters who will tie up the British until the French arrive.
Mel Gibson gives a moving portrayal of the father who is driven into a battle he sought to avoid in order to protect his family from the British. For me, his personal and family story is the essence of the tale. Just as one would expect, Benjamin Martin comes across as very sympathetic and heroic. Apparently this character is sort of a composite of possibly three different real men of that era.
The film has wonderful period costumes, though also (like Gibson's earlier Braveheart) more than enough violence for my taste. However, it did bring to life for me the Revolutionary War, unfortunately in a purely fictional rather than historical way. Though I enjoyed this picture, it seems to have taken a lot of liberties with the truth. The movie should therefore be considered strictly as entertainment, not a history lesson.
Action / Drama / History / War
Action / Drama / History / War
It is 1776 in colonial South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, a French-Indian war hero who is haunted by his past, now wants nothing more than to live peacefully on his small plantation, and wants no part of a war with the most powerful nation in the world, Great Britain. Meanwhile, his two eldest sons, Gabriel and Thomas, can't wait to enlist in the newly formed "Continental Army." When South Carolina decides to join the rebellion against England, Gabriel immediately signs up to fight...without his father's permission. But when Colonel William Tavington, British dragoon, infamous for his brutal tactics, comes and burns the Martin Plantation to the ground, tragedy strikes. Benjamin quickly finds himself torn between protecting his family, and seeking revenge along with being a part of the birth of a new, young, and ambitious nation.
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March 23, 2012 at 05:41 AM