13 September 2005 | vchimpanzee
Good job of presenting history
On April 18, 1775, along a Massachusetts road, Solomon Chandler is secretly delivering shot and gunpowder to colonists who want to stand up to the British. He is captured and beaten by Redcoats.
The people of Lexington are divided on how exactly to handle the situation, but if the British are coming, they want to be ready. 15-year-old Adam, whose father does not respect him, wants to join the militia. Amazingly, Adam's father does not try to stop him. His mother fears Adam will be killed if the circumstances lead to gunfire.
Eventually, the people are warned that, in fact, "The British are coming!" (This exact quote is not in the movie.) The men have to be ready for anything. Those who know history have some idea what will happen next.
Tommy Lee Jones did a great job as Moses, though he was somewhat more low-key than Agent K or Samuel Gerard. The fact that he came across so differently than those more outspoken characters proves he has acting skill.
Rip Torn gave the standout performance here as Solomon. Most of the other actors playing Americans also did a good job. I couldn't help but feel the British were portrayed as buffoons, but this was nothing like "Hogan's Heroes".
I thought a little too much time was devoted to the relationship between Adam and Ruth. I did like Ruth, though.
What is important here is that this movie makes the American Revolution personal. Regardless of how much a man wants to be free, can he actually shoot and kill another human being? What if that other human being wants to kill him? Was all the killing really necessary, or could the situation have been handled better? The face-off in Lexington that April morning was an impressive thing to watch. Perhaps no one had to die that day, but we all know that would have been unlikely. I won't say exactly what did happen there, but before the movie was over, at least one major character lay dead on the field of battle.
I would recommend this movie for high school or even junior high school history classes. The violence was not that explicit, and it was necessary to the story.