A long movie released Summer 2000, starring Mel Gibson as a bystander in the American Revolutionary War who joins the South Carolina militia after witnessing atrocities committed on his family by an evil British Dragoon Colnel, played by Jason Isaacs. As he takes revenge, however, he is haunted by the memories of atrocities that he himself committed in the French and Indian War.

At the beginning of the film, as the Colonials are hosting a forum on whether South Carolina should join the revolt, Gibson's family man character casts a vote against, warning that the battles will be fought amongst the citizenry, and that no one will remain innocent of the carnage of war. Both the troops under Cornwallis and the militias fulfill this prophesy over the course of the movie, usually in graphic detail.

While director Roland Emmerich does not give the movie a classic Hollywood ending, he is not above employing some classic hollywood manipulation, giving long-winded pollyannaic speaches to doomed characters, and killing off innocent characters for no good reason so that we hate the British more.

I give this movie 3.5 stars out of five. If you liked Braveheart, then you'll like The Patriot, since they're pretty much exactly the same movie in different settings.

I saw this movie last night.. here's my short thoughts on it:

The first thing to note about is: It is really, really, really over dramatic. Combined with a lot of blatant symbolism ("wow.. he's melting down the last toy soldier of his murdered son to make a bullet ... I wonder if he's going to shoot his killer with it... ") the script is at times, just outright bad. At other times, it became completely unrealistic. An example would be the heart warming racial unity scenes. In fact, the whole movie glosses over the race issue, going so far as to make Mel Gibson's character a large plantation owner who ownes no slaves, but instead has employed all free men to work his land. There's even a token african celebration, where the jolly servants play their folk music and sing and dance with the kind and loving masters. While I applaud the idea of racial unity, the fact that this was South Carolina, (the first state to pack up and leave once someone dare suggest they couldn't hold people in bondage anymore) in 1776 is not only unrealistic, but pretty insulting.

Despite all this, it's a movie (at least for me) that was impossible to not like. This is mainly because there was lots of violence. After seeing this movie, there's no doubt in my mind that Mel Gibson is one bad-ass motherfucker. Blood is used in the truck loads. Gore, gore, gore. So here's what the movie really is: an $8 catharsis for blood and violence. Even though an (poor) attempt was made at drama and meaning, don't be fooled. the actors are all very competent, but still unable to hide the fact that the script was shit. Pure shit. If you want an action, fighting and killing with fantasic battles, go, you'll enjoy it. If your hoping to use you brain a little bit though, keep looking.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
The latest in a line of films that aim for American patriotic spirit and end up irritating or severely pissing off the British.

Following in the footsteps of Saving Private Ryan (oops, forgot to mention that 'Allies' implies more than just America) and U-571 (Insulting the British dead by claiming that it was the Americans who captured the Enigma machine) The Patriot depicts the British army as Nazis. One scene that has caused great controversy in Britain is the one depicting the British burning women and children in a church. This never happened of course, but it is an almost carbon copy of a Nazi atrocity at Oradour sur Glane.

I know that people say 'you shouldn't let facts get in the way of a good story' but there are some things that should be left sacred. I have been to the remains of Oradour and 10 years later I am still horrified by this act. Now I see my name and nationality tarnished with the same brush.

Imagine a high budget film starring respected actors being released worldwide and depicting the Americans building concentration camps where they ferry thousands of jews to be murdered, it could maybe even be titled "The American Dream" and you can probably imagine the way the Brits feel about 'The Patriot'. It is insulting to our nation (yeah, I can be patriotic too!!) and it also cheapens the acts of the Nazis (you can see it now: "well, we were only copying the 18th century British").

If you want more info and a better arguer then see this website: http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2000/07/03/patriot/index.html

Stormhunter and daz eddy make a few good points about both the historical inaccuracies and fairly low quality of writing in the film. Its a feel-good soft-focus sort of thing, and no event in the film really happened, that I know of. Its all similar to real events, but all are tweaked a bit. Make no mistake about the historical veracity of the piece. Still, StormHunter's contention that there was never any racial harmony in SC is ignorant of the facts. Its easy to see, with SC's checkered past and present how you'd assume that, but there have been some suprising elements of racial harmony at different times. Not everyone owned slaves, nor did everyone approved of slavery. Also, while the church burning scene was largely fabricated, it was based not on any NAZI action, but on the actions of a British officer whom Carolinians call "Bloody" Tarleton, for his brutal actions during the revolution. The incident this scene was based on involved the wife and family of an American soldier. The wife refused to reveal the location where her husband was hiding, so he burned the house down, with the woman and her children inside. If it offends the British that we point out that a man who went on to be mayor of Liverpool carried on cranky while he was in our country, well, you survived the Blitz, this ought not crush your national spirit. For more info, I suggest South Carolina: A History by Walter Edgars.

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