You know you're mired in the cultural wasteland of the late 90's when Ang Lee has gone from working with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet to...Skeet Ulrich and Jewel. Thankfully, Lee is aided by a stellar cast of supporting actors, including Jim Caviezel and a scene-stealing Jonathan Rhys Meyers. While the screenplay is uneven, the film remains notable for its decidedly unromantic depiction of the Civil War.
In this film the script and direction of the are in conflict with each other.The script was done a sympathetic light to the Confederacy but Ang Lee was aware of the morale dilemma in the story's sympathy to the Confederacy so he tried to counter it by showing the crimes committed by the Bushwhackers but didn't succeed because he still did not change the film's sympathy for the southern cause, atrocities or not.
Strikingly well-developed characters, among other unique traits, but it can't totally escape the inherent staleness of the Civil War film. Fred Elmes' cinematography is characteristically brilliant, though...these are among the best American landscapes in recent memory. The upper third of exterior frames is generally devoid of anything but sky, reminding us of the smallness of the world in which this film takes place
An interesting story of the Civil War as it was experienced by the people of Missouri. But my god, was it painful to watch. The battle sequences were decent, but I just feel that this could have been done with a better cast overall, and far less of that generic mood music in every scene. Jonathan Rhys Meyers gets top honors for unbearable acting and strutting around like an 80's hair band singer. Why, Criterion!?
As the aficcionate I am for the American Civil War, I will watch any movie about the subject that presents to me. However this one didn't convinced me. Surely It has some good moments and Rhys Meyers rose in my consideration, but in the end I didn't liked it as I thought I would. The worst, still, is not knowing what to blame.
I remember watching this movie a few years ago and not even realizing who had directed it, taking a look back at it now it kind of reminds me of the outsiders, Look at the actors that were really just getting off of their feet then but are well known stars now. I think this is a great movie, definitely very underrated.