A farmer is forced into the American Revolution after a British
colonel murders his son, prompting him to form a Colonial Militia.
The Patriot (2000)
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Robert Rodat
Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper, Tom Wilkinson, Tcheky Karyo, Lisa Brenner,
Donal Logue, Adam Baldwin, Jay Arlen Jones
Oscar Nominations - Best Cinematography, Best Original Score (John Williams), Best Sound Mixing
For reasons I can't seem to comprehend, the American Revolution is a fairly untapped source when it comes to war movies. There are countless World War II, Vietnam, and War on Terror films made every year, but I can count the films made about our nation's origins on one hand. Maybe that's because The Patriot was made in 2000, and it is an impossible act to follow. This film is pure perfection. A harrowing war epic, a breathtaking family drama, and an absolute masterwork of suspense and heroism. It depicts a mostly fictional story of our nation's finest hour. The war that couldn't be won, but it was. It's a film that I think will help many understand the true patriots of this country.
Mel Gibson stars as French and Indian War veteran and farmer Benjamin Martin, who is reluctant to go to war with England. He values his family's lives, and doesn't want to risk them. That changes when his teenage son Thomas (Gregory Smith) is murdered by the brutal, soulless Col. Tavington (Isaacs, in a showstealing performance). Benjamin is now forced into the war, and leads a militia to take down Tavington and his commanding officer General Cornwallis (Wilkinson). At the heart of this story is Benjamin's relationship with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger), and the film uses the war as a metaphor for Benjamin's role as a father. It's fantastic storytelling.
I'm a major history buff, particularly the American Revolution. I find it fascinating that we, a ragtag group of farmers, defeated the most powerful army in the world. We forged our own future and became something incredible. We've lost our way, that's for sure, but there is still the capacity to be a place of good. Films like The Patriot reinvigorate a dramatic sense of, well, patriotism in me. They remind me of who we, as a nation, truly are and should strive to be every second of every day. Dreamers. Believers. Heroes.