We Were Soldiers
Memorial Day Feature Film:
We Were Soldiers
2002. Directed by Randall Wallace.
"I'll never forgive myself."
"For what, sir?"
"That my men....that my men died and I didn't."
Almost everyone knows what this film is about so I'm going to forgo all that get to the meat of what I find incredible about this film.
Wallace does an outstanding job in balancing the various spinning plates of the plot. The script, written by Wallace as well, does a masterful job of making you care about the characters, and doesn't lump them together. If I had one character criticism is that there are no major players of color, aside from the enemy.
This brings me to my next point. Very rarely in American war films are the enemies humanized. This film goes to pains to give you the enemy point of view and we'll shown how the horrors of war effect not only our families at home but the families of those far off lands our soldiers travel to.
Gibson is vintage Gibson and is the glue that holds the film together, much like his character holds his men together. The great Sam Elliot is the consummate bad ass salty SGT, but for me personally, Greg Kinnear's Snakeshit truly brings it home in his portrayal of the eagle eye watching the narrative unfolds from above, while simultaneously dealing with the extreme dangers being a combat pilot.
The sound mixing and editing of the frenetic combat scenes are top notch and it's truly a thing of chaotic poetry how these elements come together to bring the viewer one of the most realistic combat experiences on celluloid.
It's not art, it's not my personal favorite, but it's importance cannot be denied.
To me, it's a perfect film to view on this day of remembrance and I'm thankful for the experience.
Available on Netflix.