Release Date: August 12th, 2005 by Miramax Films
The Cast: Joseph Fiennes, James Franco, Benjamin Bratt, Connie Nielson
Directed by John Dahl.
BASIC PREMISE: A group of American soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci (Bratt) go on a mission to rescue POWs in WWII.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: What makes this film truly entertaining to watch are the three tension-filled plots. One plot includes Margaret (Nielson) who also risks her life by trying to secretly deliver quinine to her sick lover (Fiennes) who is held at the POW camp. Another plot involves the soldiers in the rescue mission as they risk their lives day by day and gather information about the POWs' whereabouts The third exciting plot is that the POWs are being killed one by one by the Japanese. The battle scenes are beautifully-filmed but at times it is difficult to see what is happening because it takes place at night. The rescue mission becomes very riveting once the Captain Prince (Franco) lays down the well-planned strategy for his soldiers simply by drawing on sand. Despite that this film is based on a true story, there are many undeveloped characters who never truly come to life with the weak script. What actually defines their character is their actions. It would have been nice, though, if the script would have allowed more humor and time to get to know at least one character better, i.e., the sick POW who pines for his lover. Fiennes gives the best performance out of the entire cast.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The standard themes that one expects to find in war movies are brought up here, including the importance of bravery, honor, devotion, true love, and, above all, hope. It is very moving to watch Margaret do anything she can to cure her ailing POW lover. The ending is particularly touching and satisfying--especially with the black-and-white footage of the real people whom each actor portrayed.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very suspenseful, important war film that is highly-emotional at times and always intense as well as engaging despite its weak script.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "G" Menu