Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Kevin Jarre, based on material by Robert Gould Shaw, Lincoln Kirstein & Peter Burchard
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman
Music: James Horner
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Washington), Best Cinematography and Best Sound; Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Editing; currently #233 on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: black soldiers fighting in the Civil War
Length: 122 minutes
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), September 2008
Subjective Rating: 4/10 (Eh).
Objective Rating: 4/10 (gets points for story, characters, dialog and pacing) c. 2.1/4 (Okay).
Very well-written, but not a good movie. The cinematography looks like a damn Hallmark made-for-TV movie. The music is cliche, overbearing, and often completely wrong for the scene. It must have the smallest budget ever for an epic historical drama; there are supposed to be 1,000 soldiers, but there are clearly only about thirty of them. But most importantly: Denzel Washington acting opposite Mathew Broderick? Is this a joke? If there was just bad acting, that would be tollerable; I could tune it out. But the juxtaposition of those two… it’s just painful.