ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

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I Am Heath Ledger (2017)

Director: Adrian Buitenhuis, Derik Murray

Writer: Hart Snider (Screenplay)

 

Plot: Friends and family of the late actor Heath Ledger remember his life and career.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Documentary

 

Story: I am Heath Ledger starts as we hear from friends and family about the drive from a very young age that Heath had, we learn how he would record his life and we see these previously unseen recordings of his own adventures, as he continued to learn his craft.

We learn how the fellow stars from Australia would come together to support each other through their time in Hollywood.

Seeing how many people both in personal and in the Hollywood world were touched by Heath is fascinating and showed us what a great man Heath was and how he should always be remembered.

 

Thoughts on I Am Heath Ledger

 

Final ThoughtsHeath Ledger is easily one of the biggest losses in modern Hollywood time, he potential was just coming through after The Dark Knight but he was taken from us too soon. Seeing how his life goals were achieved, how he went out with little to no experience to become a lead in a Hollywood. Seeing how he helped people, always wanted to learn and improve his craft is fascinating to see. This is a must watch for any of the fans of his, actors and Hollywood.

 

Overall: One for everyone to watch.

Rating

 

 

Monster’s Ball (2001)

logoDirector: Marc Forster

Writer: Milo Addica, Will Rokos (Screenplay)

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Peter Boyle, Mos Def, Sean Combs

 

Plot: After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard re-examines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

Story: Monster’s Ball starts by introducing us to Hank Grotowski (Thornton) who seems to be a friendly man around town, he has a son Sonny (Ledger) who enjoys his drink and prostitutes and also lives with his father Buck (Boyle). Buck has raised Hank to be racist against blacks including chasing them off his property. Hank is a prison guard and has got his son a job there too where he is teaching the ways of the system after personal mistakes.

We see that the prison is preparing for the execution of Lawrence Musgrove (Combs), we see how Lawrence is having his final visit with his family Leticia (Berry) and his son Tyrell. Promised one final phone call to his son Lawrence has this taken away from him by the warden and it is up to Hank and Sonny to look after Lawrence for his final hours. The execution itself goes through correctly the final walk doesn’t go as plan because of Sonny.

This failure leads to a domestic fight between Hank and Sonny before the next morning Sonny confronts Hank before killing himself. After this personal tragedy Hank quits his job leading to him to have his father look down on him but when he is trying to figure out what to do he finds Leticia on the side of the road with her son seriously injured after being hit by a car. For this first time Hank stops to help a black person showing that he is starting to change but it is too for the boy who dies because of the injuries.

Hank and Leticia both have suffered the loss of a child that they both were too strict which leads them both to have a common issue in their lives. It isn’t long before the two become friends and romantically involved, but things take a turn when they learn about the original connection they had in the past.

Monster’s Ball was a film that got all of the Oscar talk and then only managed to get a few nominations, it does tell a very powerful story about loss and moving on which comes off very well. It shows how a potential negative upbringing can make you make the same mistakes and that you will need to change before it is too late. The film also shows how a racial opinion can continue down through a generation without properly seeing the problem. I will say the story won’t be for everyone but it is one of the most powerful. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

Billy Bob Thornton: Hank Grotowski a good prison guard who has been raised to be racist but hides it for the most part, but when it comes out we see his true colours. Hank also has problems with his own son who he has been trying to help clean up his act but his strictness leads to tragedy. After his own tragedy he gets involved with Leticia who is also struggling with her own loss. Billy gives a great performance. (8/10)

 

Halle Berry: Leticia Musgrove whose husband in on death row and her child is overweight, but after her husband’s execution she wants to continue her life. Tragedy strikes again in her life when her son is hit by a car and dies leading to her getting a helping hand of Hank. Halle gives an Oscar winning performance here and shows why she got the award. (10/10)

Heath Ledger: Sonny Grotowski son of Hank who has had problems before but is trying to turn his life around. When things don’t go as Hank played he ends up making a point before killing himself. Heath gives a solid supporting performance and showed how good he was in his short time on screen. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Monster’s Ball has a supporting cast that all have different opinions on the situation of the world, we see the racist father, the locked up prisoner or fellow victims of the racism. Each member helps the final story unfold.

Director Review: Marc Forster – Marc does a good job directing this powerful drama putting out characters through a full range of emotions. (8/10)

 

Drama: Monster’s Ball is very powerful putting the characters through some tough moments in their lives. (9/10)

Romance: Monster’s Ball has an almost awkward romantic angle that helps change both the characters lives. (8/10)

Settings: Monster’s Ball uses the settings well to show the difference in living class of the two main characters. (9/10)

Suggestion: Monster’s Ball is one to try, it might not be for everyone but the ones who do watch it will find it very powerful. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Seeing the change in Hank over the course of the film.

Worst Part: Very depressing film.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars and winning Best Actress.

Box Office: $45 Million

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

Tagline: A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.

 

Overall: Monster’s Ball is a very powerful film that deserved the praise it got.

Rating 85

The Sin Eater (2003)

logoDirector: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Benne Furmann, Mark Addy, Peter Weller

Plot: A young priest is sent to Rome to investigate the troubling death of the head of his order.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Religious Thriller

 

Story: We start by seeing priest Alex’s (Ledger) mentor Dominic killed but in a way that is not accepted by the church. He seems to have come to his end by the hands of a Sin Eater. Alex travels to Rome to investigate what happened along with an estranged girl Mara (Sossamon) and fellow priest Thomas (Addy). The three learn that the church ex-communicated by the church which leads him down the path of searching for a mysterious Sin Eater. After Alex meets the Sin Eater he starts to learn more about the art looked down on by the church. Alex is groomed by the sin eater into becoming his replacement but after rejecting his offer he might have got himself in to deep.

Whenever you start looking into the church’s secret you automatically take a risky step and this tries to look at a dirty secret which won’t get accepted. It offers the look at how power can seduce but also shows how the emotionless priests can lose control with ease. In the end it really doesn’t have too much to it and we just look at one priest who loses control and uncovers the truth about why he ends up being the most important part of the film. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Heath Ledger: Alex Bernier a young priest who travels back to Rome to learn what happened to his mentor, but ends up uncovering something much bigger and darker after he meets a sin eater. He gets tempted by the sin eater as he has been groomed to replace the man, but we are left to see if he will. Heath gives a good performance in what is a lacklustre script. (7/10)

 heath

Shannyn Sossamon: Mara Sinclair stalker who has fallen in love with Alex but she joins them on the investigation as he tries to protect her. The two fall in love as Alex gives up his vows and this young artist thinks things are going well. Shannyn gives a solid performance but fails to shine in what is a bleak role. (6/10)

 

Benno Furmann: William Eden the sin eater who shows Alex the power of the art. She explains why Alex is being taught the ways and shows how he got the powers to start with. Benno gives a good performance keeping on the steady calm level his character needed from start to finish. (7/10)

 sin eater

Mark Addy: Thomas Garrett friend and fellow priest of Alex who is trying to help with the investigation even though he gets seduced by the supernatural powers. He tries to keep Alex away from the dark side of Sin eater but will he be able to stop him in time. Mark gives a solid performance as he always does in a supporting role. (6/10)

 

Peter Weller: Driscoll the head priest who informs Alex of Dominic’s death and sends him to investigate what happened. Peter gives a solid performance. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Not many more people involved in the film, just the people who get their sins eaten and the higher powers within the church trying to stop Alex doing the right thing.

 

Director Review: Brian Helgeland – Brian does some solid directing but if truth be told the pacing of the film feels off and the final part feels like a flash. (5/10)

 

Mystery: It offers a mystery but never gives you anything to solve. (4/10)

Thriller: It doesn’t pull you in as everything that happens is very predictable and with little supporting characters we get left just wondering when something surprising will happen. (4/10)

Settings: Each setting pushes the idea of religion down your throat just in case you forget it was a film about religion. (8/10)
Special Effects
: When the sins get eaten is the only time we see special effects but in the end they look slightly weird. (5/10)

Suggestion: I think it would be fair to just try this, I don’t think it offers anything original but is a good early performance from Heath Ledger. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The reveal of who the hooded man is.

Worst Part: Slow building, fast ending.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $11 Million

Budget: $38 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Every soul has its price.

 

Overall: Like a trip to the church you are not interested at the start but the end goes quickly

Rating 60

The Four Feathers (2002)

logoDirector: Shekhar Kapur

Writer: Michael Schiffer, Hossein Amini (Screenplay) A.E.W. Mason (Novel)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, Djimon Hounsou, Kate Hudson, Michael Sheen

 

Plot: A British officer resigns his post just before battle and subsequently receives four white feathers from his friends and fiancée as symbols of what they believe to be his cowardice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Heroic Story

 

Story: The Four Feathers starts by explaining that in 1884 over a quarter of the Earth’s surface had been conquered by the British army and that there was no great honour for a young man that to fight for Queen and Country. If someone refused they bought shame and humiliation on their friends and families. The symbol was a white feather.

We meet our group of private university students Harry (Ledger), Jack (Bentley) Edward (Marshall), Tom (Penry-Jones) and William (Sheen) rugby players and top of the society. Harry is to be married to Ethne (Hudson) much to the jealously of Jack. The soldiers in the making are going to be sent to Sudan for the war and filled with high hopes they are looking forward to getting over there. Harry decides that going into war isn’t going to be his thing and resigns from the commission. By leaving Harry gets given four feathers by his Ethne, Edward, Tom and William to brand him a coward.

Harry sets out to return the feathers to the people who gave him by protecting them during the conflict. Abou Fatma (Hounsou) befriends him in this quest and realizes that he is a good man trying to do a good thing. The English soldiers find themselves in a battle against an army that out numbers them dramatically. Harry goes to extraordinary lengths to save William after saving Jake and his story of heroics will be remembered by the men who branded him a coward forever.

The Four Feathers is a story that shows just how heroic certain stories in war can be. We also see how naïve people can be when it comes to war thinking it is all glory. This may well have been a remake of a classis but as I haven’t seen the fore mentioned original I can’t compare the two. I think this shows how loyal people can be to their friends as well as showing how far they will go to prove themselves. The romantic side of the story is rather pathetic and lady involved is a bitch not easier way of putting it. I think when it comes to war films this is a solid story and instead of going over the top showing the horrors of war is tales the story of surviving a war. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Heath Ledger: Harry Feversham is one man who receives the four feathers and decides to go out and risk his life to save them the best he can. He must join the enemy soldiers to help protect them in the battle. Heath gives a good performance in the leading role and shows why he was picked for these types of roles. (7/10)

 harry

Wes Bentley: Jake Durrance the one friend who doesn’t give Harry a feather because he is too loyal to Harry. He is the strongest in the battles and getting all the praise for his efforts. Wes gives a good performance in this role, with his character showing human side to the conflict. (7/10)

wes

Kate Hudson: Ethne Eustace the love interest of Harry who after he gets branded a coward gets involved with Jake. Kate gives a solid performance for a character that is highly unlikable because of her actions towards Harry. (5/10)

kate

Support Cast: The Four Feathers has a supporting cast that includes the soldiers and friends that turn on Harry that in time harry tries to save. It also have Djimon Hounsou whose character makes an unlikely friendship with Harry to help save the day during all the conflict.

 

Director Review: Shekhar Kapur – Shekhar does a good job directing this showing how each part of the journey holds a different problem for Harry and how he manages to overcome them. (7/10)

 

Romance: The Four Feathers has a romantic angle that is horrible because of how Harry is treated by his wife to be. (3/10)

War: The Four Feathers shows how war isn’t fought just on the battleground but also around it. (8/10)

Settings: The Four Feathers uses the settings to show how isolated the battalion would be in a battle in the middle of the desert. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Four Feathers is one to try, I don’t think it will appeal to the casual fans but I do think the war film fans will enjoy this one. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Returning the feathers.

Worst Part: Romantic side to the story.

Action Scene Of The Film: The battalion attacked.

 

Believability: The character may well be fictional but the battle would have been a real one. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $30 Million

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: What would you kill for?

Trivia: The major fight scene is the Battle of Abu Klea, which took place on January 17, 1885. A British Desert Column of approximately 1,100 troops fought a Mahdist force of over 12,000 dervishes. The scene depicted in the film, however, is a fictional version of the actual battle.

 

Overall: This is simply one of those heroes of war film that shows how one man wanted to prove he wasn’t a coward to his friends who branded him one.

Rating 70