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THE PATRIOT.
What an incredible film. I have seen few films that have been as honest about the human condition as this one.
-Review by David Bruce

T
HE PATRIOT
(2000)

This page was created on June 27, 2000
and was updated on May 22, 2005

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Director Roland Emmerich. Click for larger photoDirected by Roland Emmerich
Written by: Robert Rodat

Mel Gibson .... Benjamin Martin
Heath Ledger .... Gabriel Martin
Joely Richardson .... Charlotte Selton
Jason Isaacs .... Col. William Tavington
Chris Cooper .... Col. Harry Burwell
Tchéky Karyo .... Jean Villeneuve
Rene Auberjonois .... Reverend Oliver
Lisa Brenner .... Anne Howard
Tom Wilkinson .... General Cornwallis
Donal Logue .... Dan Scott
Leon Rippy .... John Billings
Adam Baldwin .... Capt. Wilkins
Gregory Smith .... Thomas Martin
Mika Boorem .... Margaret Martin
Skye McCole Bartusiak .... Susan Martin
Trevor Morgan .... Nathan Martin
Joey D. Vieira .... Peter Howard
Jay Arlen Jones .... Occam
Logan Lerman .... William Martin
Michael Neeley .... Marquis de Lafayette
Bryan Chafin .... Samuel Martin
Beatrice Bush .... Abigale

Produced by Michael Dahan (associate), Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich (executive), Ute Emmerich (executive), William Fay (executive,) Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn, Dionne McNeff (associate)
Original music by John Williams
Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel
Film Editing by David Brenner


"I have long feared that my sins would come back to visit me."
One of the several scenes of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) at prayer.

Click for larger photoSYNOPSIS:

The emotionally charged adventure The Patriot tells the story of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), a reluctant hero who is swept into the American Revolution when the war reaches his farm and the British endanger what he holds most dear. He takes up arms alongside his idealistic patriot son, Gabriel, and leads a rebel American Militia into battle against a relentless and overwhelming Redcoat army. In the process, he discovers that the only way to protect his family is to fight for a young nation's liberty. But his dark past haunts him. In 1763, the lengthy French and Indian War ended. England controlled Canada and all the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. In many ways, the men who lived on and fought for this land had stronger ties to it and to each other than to Britain. The hardy settlers formed Great Britain's 13 colonies in the New World. After years of warfare, they reclaim their ordinary lives in the burgeoning cities and countryside.

Benjamin Martin is one of these men. Once a ferocious warrior, he's made a hero by his comrades, but leaves his brutality behind him and returns to his home in South Carolina. He marries a fine woman who bears him seven children and under her influence, he trades his violent past for a peaceful future on his sprawling plantation.

The cost of Pas Britannia is high and the young colonies are not willing to pay the price. A series of taxes are demanded: the Currency, Sugar, Stamp and Quartering Acts come in rapid succession; the draconian "Intolerable Acts" follow. The colonists strenuously object to the notion of "taxation without representation" and the threat to their rights of self-government. The Boston Harbor becomes a vat of tea. Another conflict, this time with England, is inevitable.

Click for larger photoBenjamin Martin is not so sure. While the British yoke bristles, he is not anxious to return to battle. He has different goals now. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him the sole caretaker of his brood of children. Tragedy, responsibility and the sins of his past have transformed him. A somber, restrained man, his facade belies a troubled soul. The horrors of combat haunt him still. His savage acts in the previous war gnaw at his conscience.

Click for larger photoEldest son Gabriel has no such doubts. The radical speeches, pamphlets and newsletters that begin in the city and pews and traverse the colonies make an impression on the young man. War is coming and the cause, the new and independent country, is just. In defiance of his father, he joins the fight and inadvertently brings it to his family's doorstep.

(And this is just the first 20 minutes of the movie)

David BruceTHE PATRIOT.
What an incredible film. I have seen few films that have been as honest about the human condition as this one.
-Review by David Bruce
 

A MAN OF FAITH WITH A SINFUL PAST.
This is the story of a man who struggles with his sinful past, and his faith. "There isn't a day go by that I don't ask God to forgive me."

Throughout the story Benjamin (Gibson) is cinematically composed, during reflective moments, with large crosses and other symbols of faith. In fact his dress during those scenes is priest-like -all black with a white collar (photo on left).

During his violent scenes he wears a loose bishop style white shirt (photo on right) that clearly shows the blood of his victims from battle. These two forms of dress clearly reveal his inner struggle between good and evil. The domestic dress in the picture at top is used for his family life.

A FAMILY MAN.
It is a true thing. Violent young men tend to become less so as they grow older. Benjamin has locked his violent past in a trunk. He is a single father of seven children. He farms and makes rocking chairs. Could there be a better symbol of domestication?

AMERICA IS AT WAR.
Benjamin will not fight anymore. He is now a pacifist. He will not leave his children parentless. His wife had died giving birth to their seventh child. This changes, however, when the war literally comes to his front door.

AVOIDING THE WAR EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL
Benjamin's attitude about the war has, of course, more to do with his inner conflict and dark past.

The family begins to tend for the wounded of both sides.

THE CATALYST THAT IGNITES BENJAMIN IS AN INCARNATION OF EVIL ITSELF.
A very evil British officer, Col. Tavington, shows up at Benjamin's door with his soldiers and kills all the wounded 'rebel' soldiers.

BENJAMIN PLEADS FOR HIS HOME AND FAMILY.
The reason for Benjamin not fighting in the war for independence -- his family -- becomes the very same reason for sudden participation in the war.
THERE IS NO COMPROMISE WITH EVIL.
His son is dragged off in front of the whole family to be hung as a spy. No amount of dialog can prevent the course of evil.
THE ENEMY COMES TO KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY.
Col. Travington kills Benjamin's second oldest child, and hauls off his first born, as he sets fire to Benjamin's house and barns.
THE SAVAGE WARRIOR OF THE PAST RETURNS.
Armed to the teeth, Benjamin pursues the forces of evil to get his son back. Benjamin sets out to render justice, but it is shadowed by a very savage brutality.

THE SON IS SAVED.
I have seen few films that have addressed the human condition and the inner conflict of war as honestly as this film does. The writer is amazing. Every line is a work of perfection
.

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