Monday, January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010

Gettysburg (1993)
#2 on my Top 100 List
This is an epic film that I think only history dorks like me love and I do love it. It is, for the most part, historically accurate (and those inaccuracies were all put in for a reason - mostly moving main characters closer to the action) and a large part of it was actually shot at the National Military Park in Gettysburg. Equal attention is given to characters on each side of the war - Joshua Chamberlain and John Buford for the North and Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, and Armistead for the South - with no obvious bias. The scene of Chamberlain's bayonet charge down Little Round Top is one of the most moving scenes I've seen, as well as the entire Pickett's Charge sequence. I also like that this is more than a traditional war movie. Great attention is given to specific relationships and how they are affected by the war - mostly the best friendship between northern General Hancock and southern General Armistead and the brotherhood between Tom and Joshua Chamberlain (C. Thomas Howell's performance as Tom is where my love for him comes from). Martin Sheen as Lee and Sam Elliott as Buford were sort of miscast looks-wise (which is obvious from the opening credits as photos of the true historical figures dissolve into photos of the actors in costume) but they both play the parts well otherwise. The battlefield realism is pretty good, so far as it went before Saving Private Ryan changed the game five years later.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

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