At the beginning of the American Revolution, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is a South Carolina veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower raising his seven children. In the year 1776, when the Declaration of Independence is about to be documented and signed, he and his family are called to an Assembly meeting in Charleston, where his wife’s sister, Charlotte (Joely Richardson), is residing. A levy is being made for the Continental Army and Colonel Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper), having fought alongside Benjamin in the French and Indian War, asks that the South Carolina Assembly help give its support. The levy is unanimous, despite Benjamin’s claims he could not fight or cast a vote while tending his children alone. His eldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), is eager to join the Continental Army and fight the increasing oppressive British forces.
Though he was raised on a steady diet of independent-minded German filmmakers like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders, director Roland Emmerich aspired early in his career to make blockbuster Hollywood movies. After making a name for himself by helming “The Noah’s Ark Principle” (1981), the most expensive student film ever made in Germany, Emmerich crossed the Atlantic Ocean to make mainstream studio films. His first, “Universal Soldier” (1992), was an unexpected hit, which paved the way for him to direct his pet project, “Stargate” (1994). Along with writing and producing partner, Dean Devlin, Emmerich established himself as a resourceful sci-fi specialist who earned a reputation for meticulous preparation and remarkable cost-efficiency. Emmerich launched himself to the top of the Hollywood food chain with “Independence Day” (1996), a big, loud, sci-fi film that was long on computer-generated special effects but short on narrative and character development. Despite the campy… read more
An imaginary past built on the myths Americans would like to believe about themselves. We won the war against the cruel British with a small group of ragtag, reluctant yet committed warriors. The French were a burden, not a help. Slavery barely existed, and free black people lived in idyllic splendor. Entertaining in its breathless stupidity.