5 October 2005 | guanche
Fictionalized but worthwhile. A great pro-Second Amendment statement.
After disposing of the fact that this film was significantly under budgeted, and, in spots, more than a bit overacted, what remains is a realistically cold and existential account of the first day of the American Revolution. While the principal characters have decided to take a stand against British domination, most are a bit vague in their feelings and haven't judged exactly how far they are willing to go. Yet, the events of the Day assume a life of their own and sweep everyone along.
I was most impressed by the way the film depicts the confusion of war and the mostly improvised pattern of resistance against the redcoats. Firing is heard all around, though no one is exactly sure from where or by whom. Men move through the woods with their guns, forming ad hoc groups to ambush the roadbound British columns---whose primary mission was the confiscation of privately owned firearms. The tactics are historically accurate. They fire, and retreat to concealed positions to reload. Most of these men are reluctant warriors, resigned to an unpleasant task, yet resolved to carry it through. A fine illustration of the ultimate Check and Balance of an armed citizenry; a concept enshrined in our Constitution yet too readily dismissed by many who claim to believe in democratic principles.
Another interesting and rather rare touch is the fact that the scriptwriters made a real effort to have the characters speak as people of the time would have. I have found that in many "historical" films the actors use words, sentence structure and alliterative devices from modern times. In some instances, well intentioned editors concerned with realism overcompensate to the point where the dialogue is overly formalized, archaic, and stilted. Not so here. The actors really sound like what one would read in contemporary, primary sources describing the event. This by itself gives the film considerable educational value.
A good "war is hell" movie still suitable for younger viewers due to its lack of gratuitous gore, and a memorable portrayal of ordinary people facing up to the bold task of confronting tyranny.