In 1993 a film came out that shocked the senses with its imagery and sheer brutal action sequences. There were no computer enhanced sequences, not glorified blood splattering, it was raw vivid showing of what war is. The battle scenes were so graphic that it brought many to tears and many to loose their lunch as well. It showed just how horrible war was. What it also showed was how brave soldiers can be when forced with knowing that they might not live the day. The film showed the courage that men face when they think that they are going to die yet go ahead anyway. This one battle was not wanted by either side yet it was going to happen no matter what they wanted. It was the bloodiest and most carnal battle of the Civil War and I do not believe that any other film has captured it as well as this one has.
While all the main players and generals were in this film it actually centered around mostly 2 men, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) on the Confederate side and Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) on the Union side. Both men had a duty to do no matter how disliked it was and both felt compelled to defend the land that they both loved. The film shows how each man had to deal with their own personal demons and the mortal officers that they were forced to serve. The film looks in depth how both men and their offices dealt with such hard and desperate times. We even see just how short sighted one of America’s greatest generals, Gen. Robert E. Lee (Martin Sheen) was. It was his over enthusiastic religious views of the war and visions that her said he saw that made it so that he would not listen to the good council of his most trusted officer, Gen. Longstreet.
Both the North and the south felt that this was the battle to end the war and threw everything that they had into it. So adamant to see the day won that over a course of 3 days over 50 thousands lay dead and dying on the fields and ridges around Gettysburg. Both were so adamant at holding the high ground that they could not see anything else and refused to see anything else then having their cannons set on the ridges so that they could claim the day and claim victory. It had already been a long war and both had sustained massive casualties but nothing like the three days on the hills and fields there in Pennsylvania.
What is special about the film is not only the drama that you see unfold but also the fact that all the battles shows were filmed on location one the very ground where the battles originally took place. The producers, directors and crew did their best to stay true to what happened in those three days during the war. This is one film that you will look at in awe and make you wonder just what it would be like to live during those times. It is a perfect film to introduce older children teens to what really happened during the Civil War.
As I said there were no computer effects used in the film. All the explosions while staged were real. There are some that have a passion for reenacting the battles of America’s history and Gettysburg is one of those. Those same reenactment groups were the thousands that were needed to be able to make a film of this size and scope. The scale was massive and if it were not for the reenactment groups the film probably would never had been made. If you want to get a sense of what it was like in the war with out all of the artistic touchups in a computer lab then this is going to be the film for you to see.
I do not think that you will find a better rendition of the battle then to go to Gettysburg yourself to watch the battle play out by those that have a love for the land that is there or its heroes. This is a film that will make you want to know more about history and the men that lived it. This is a film that is going to make you wonder just how it was that we are even still here to even think about it. You will not forget this film easily at all if ever.
I give this film a Musing review of
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