movie film review | chris tookey


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Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
8.53 /10
Matthew Broderick , Denzel Washington , Cary Elwes
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Directed by: Edward Zwick
Written by: Kevin Jarre, from the books Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard, and the letters of Robert Gould Shaw

Released: 1989
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 122


The story of America's first black regiment to bear arms in the American Civil War. Under white officers and a callow young colonel, the black soldiers have to fight not only the opposing Confederates, but also the prejudices of their own side.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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That cherishable rarity: a war film which neither diminishes the heroism of soldiers, nor tries to glamorise warfare. James Horner's pompous, obtrusive score is a disastrous error of taste; the screenplay is efficient, rather than inspired; and you'd never guess from the upbeat ending that US regiments remained racially segregated until the Korean War, almost a hundred years later.
Despite these flaws, the film succeeds in being moving, entertaining and a stirring achievement on an epic scale. Veteran British cinematographer Freddie Francis deservedly won an Oscar; and director Edward Zwick, best known for TV's thirtysomething , shows he can handle action scenes as well as liberal angst (here embodied in the regiment's young, white commanding officer, Matthew Broderick: a sensitive and critically underrated performance). Steven Rosenblum was deservedly Oscar-nominated for his editing (the battle scenes are especially effective), as was Norman Garwood for his production design.

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