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The Problem: This film was mareketed poorly - the trailers give an accurate idea of the content, but they give you the wrong impression as to the tone. Because Bruce Willis is in it, they chose to make it out to contain tons of action and heroic combat! They also chose to make it appear to be a Bruce Willis vehicle. Let me tell you, if you are renting or buying it for either of the above reasons, you will hate it! The "combat action" scenes are sparse (two scenes) and extremely short (though very exciting when they do occur. And Bruce Willis is really a supporting actor to Farrel - in fact, of the major characters, he probably has less screen time than anyone else, and is rarely seen outside of Farrel's perspective.
(Also, Americans seem to reject the idea that Nazis in an interrment camp could have had a shred of civility. Perhaps this film gave them a little too much credit - but I think that even as evil as they were, not all Nazis were inhuman brutes.)
The Good: So, the first thing you need to do is lay aside your expectation of a SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or GUNS OF NAVARONNE type movie. This is a drama! And it is a very good one. There are several layers to this story - one is that of Lt. Hart's (Colin Farrel) need for redemption after an early failure in the film. His assignment to defend the falsely accused marine gives him that chance. The main story is the trial of a marine who asserts he was framed for the murder of a fellow marine in the stockade.Read more ›
I was somewhat apprehensive when it was announced that Bruce Willis was starring in the movie. This is not to say that I don't like Willis, just that there wasn't any character appropriate for him in the book... When I saw the trailer for the movie I was totally turned off by all the explosions. It appeared that a tight courtroom thriller was turned into "Die Hard". The trailer turned me off and I never went to see the film in the theatre.
I finally saw the movie this past week and I discovered that my apprehensions and refusal to see the movie in the theatre was right.
"Hart's war" is not a terrible movie - it's not great with good visuals and a comparatively weak plot (probably three stars). The problem is that the movie states that it "is based on" a great book and virtually none of the story was passed from the book to the film. Somewhere in the adaptation, Hart's character is no longer a drafted law student, there is suddenly _two_ black airmen (the book only has one) and the movie's story is more about hurting the German war effort - not about finding a murderer. None of these changes help the story and, to be honest, the movie's plot really doesn't make a lot of sense.
Colin Farrell is especially good here, and acting out the title role lends credibility and verve to the film. Likewise, Marcel Lures does a good job convincing us he is indeed an evil and manipulative Camp Commander. Bruce Willis is also terrific as the by-the-book West Point graduate and Prisoner Commander who must decide whether or not to intercede to save Hart from his existential situation. Given his willingness to let one man die for the good of many, the choice he must make is by no means a foregone conclusion.
The action sequences are extremely well choreographed and photographed, and while the plot reels from happenstance to happenstance all too conveniently to be believed, the film is entertaining and intriguing in bringing up social issues one does not ordinarily think about in terms of the Second World War. While this isn't intended as a serious drama, it is a good action flick that will keep you entertained if you don't allow the potboiler plot to get in the way. Enjoy!
Take Colonel Werner Visser (Marcel Iures). The workup on him shows him to be evil, intolerant, cruel and autocratic and those are his nicer qualities. Then suddenly, for no reason we can discern, he develops a soft spot for Lt. Hart (Colin Farrell). This is a conniving, manipulative, hard hearted creature and just because he went to the same college as Hart, he becomes his avuncular advisor and benefactor. Let's get real here.
Yes, and I am sure they are going to send a lieutenant assigned to headquarters and privileged to strategic information, who has never been in combat, to shuttle another officer to the front lines so he can get captured and spill his guts to the enemy. That detail would have been given to a non commissioned officer with no exposure to such intelligence.
The one bright spot in this film is the acting of Colin Farrell. Farrell combines rugged good looks and excellent dramatic skills to bring this film whatever shred of credibility it has. He manages to make his character believable, despite the unbelievable nature of everything that is going on around him. Bruce Willis gets top billing in this film, but doesn't log 20% of the screen time that Farrell commands.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Exellent POW drama! Touches on several issues. German commandant ig particularly good. Moving ending !Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent film. I was surprised by Bruce Willis. I tend to see him as a light weight actor, but he displays a lot of acting ability in this film.Published 1 month ago by L.H.
This and Tears of the Sum are Bruce Willis's best performancesPublished 6 months ago by Larry H. Kenfield
It was an entertaining but somewhat far-fetched tale with some good WWII scenes.Published 6 months ago by John R. DeFrees
Superb story that passed me by when it was initially released. Can't say much without spoiler warnings.Published 7 months ago by Barbara Keck
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