The Patriot

The Patriot (2000)

Recently I have come to the conclusion that Target is amazing. Everything needed can be found in this store, especially when looking for particular Halloween costume accessories. But, the absolute greatest part of Target is their Blu-ray section, specifically their $5-10 sections. Beautiful.

Many treasures have been found there, yet so far it’s safe to say The Patriot is my favorite. And not just The Patriot, the unrated extended cut of The Patriot. Historical inaccuracies and all, this film has been a favorite of mine since my adolescence. Something about Mel Gibson with a musket just feels right.

The Martin family’s journey begins mid-1776 on their lonely plantation in South Carolina. America’s Revolutionary War roars on as the Continental Army looks for support from their state. Without the permission of his father, Gabriel (Heath Ledger) enlists. Two years later, something dramatic happens causing Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) to begrudgingly join the war, creating a militia of his own. Numerous amounts of Redcoat killings thus ensues.

From what I can recall, all my viewings of The Patriot before now have been TV versions. So censored. Although I do remember a leg coming off here and a blood splatter there. Still, I had not experienced authenticity. My greatest surprise came with the actual length of the film. With ten additional minutes, the extended cut runs 175 minutes. It’s been some time since I’ve sat down and watched this film front to back, but my recollection never included The Patriot being close to three hours long. Luckily, I sat down with all the time in the world embracing a “bring it on” mentality.

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the tomahawk!

If, on the off chance, I was given three words, only three words with enough description to absolutely, completely, entirely, and resolutely captivate my audience coercing them to watch/buy The Patriot themselves, I would have to think about it. Then after little thought I would say, “Mel Gibson (one word)/slow-motion (also one word)/ponytails.” I don’t even know why I should continue, when these words give so much description as it is, but alas, I do it for you.

Seriously, the slow-mo in this film is amazing. If Mel Gibson is running, he is running slowly. Someone getting shot? Probably in slowed down. Epicness and slow-motion are synonyms when it comes to The Patriot. In fact, the rather long runtime of the film largely has to do with all the slow-motion used throughout its duration. No complaints here. Sometimes my attention span cannot keep pace with life moving at normal speed, so these sedated shots really help my mind catch up.

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90% chance this scene’s in slow-mo.

Buying this film on Blu-ray is honestly the best thing I could have ever done. Talk about being blown away, the film looked incredible in a high definition format. One important aspect HD brought to Mel Gibson’s historical (not Braveheart) is the beautiful cinematography of Caleb Deschanel. The poetic use of beauty in the environment keeps afloat the reminder of what each man and woman is fighting for, and in turn what they are destroying. It is frightening the depths one will stoop, yet inspiring the depths one will go.

Okay, acting. Well, the lineup is Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, and Tom Wilkinson. So, the acting’s good. Next subject.

The Patriot is interesting as it hardly shields itself from wartime atrocities yet sugarcoats social issues at the time. People are burned alive, wounded executed, and death clouds the screen, but Roland Emmerich sugarcoats the issue of slavery, turning it into something made by Disney. A southern plantation owner with free black workers? Maybe. British more cruel to slaves than Americans? Eh. One racist guy in the entire Continental Army? Right. Good thing I don’t put The Patriot on the same pedestal as 12 Years a Slave.

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proper evil.

Not to sound too much of a stereotypical American, but American history was all I could tolerate throughout my high school years. Actually, “tolerate” is the incorrect word as I thoroughly enjoyed U.S. history. The Civil War, the Roaring Twenties, WWII, Civil Rights, are all pieces, for better or for worse, of my country’s young history. Yet, at the top of all these significant events formidably stands the American Revolution.

My mind indisputably believes all political, economical, and societal concepts that furiously shape our modern “way of living” stem from this revolution. Not technically 100% all there, but nonetheless it is my American duty to offer love and receive joy from The Patriot.

The Patriot (2000) directed by Roland Emmerich

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