Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Four Feathers

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Profanity:Mild
Nudity/Sex:Non-graphic sexual situation; brief male nudity in locker room; women stolen and forced into prostitution
Alcohol/Drugs:Social drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Intense and explicit peril and battle violence
Diversity Issues:Black character is loyal and brave but reflects the era in which the movie is set
Movie Release Date:2002

In what is at least the fifth filmed version of this story, a soldier ordered to war resigns his commission. He has just become engaged to a girl he adores and the concerns of a battle on the other side of the world do not seem important to him. His friends and his fiancée send him four white feathers, accusing him of cowardice, and he fears they may be right. So he disguises himself as a native and follows his former regiment to the Sudan. He will not risk his life for the honor of his country, but he will risk it to protect his friends and to prove that they were wrong about him.

This time, Heath Ledger plays Harry Faversham, the reluctant soldier, with Wes Bentley (of “American Beauty”) as his best friend, Jack, and Kate Hudson as Ethne, the woman they both love.

Director Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth”) stages the pageantry very well, from the scenes of red-coated officers swirling their ladies around the dance floor to the marches, battles, and prison scenes. He does fairly well by his young stars. Their British accents may falter, but he knows how to work around their weaknesses and play to their strengths, especially Ledger’s athletic charm, Hudson’s delicate dignity, and Bentley’s ability to combine strength and sensitivity. Kapur is less sure of himself in handling the very traditional structure of the story and there are some oddly disjointed transitions that undermine what should be the most dramatic moments.

Parents should know that the movie has intense battle violence with graphic injuries. Characters are wounded and killed. There is brief nudity in a locker room and a non-explicit sexual situation. The portrayal of non-whites is less offensive than in previous versions of the story, but still reflects the prejudices of the era. The enemy is referred to as “an army of Mohammedan fanatics” and “heathens” and the English think they must win because they have “nobler souls.”

Families who see this movie should talk about how it relates to current concerns about terrorism and the possibility of war. Both sides think that they are doing what God wants them to do. Is there any way to prevent war under those conditions? The director is originally from India. How do you think that affects his portrayal of an era in which British officers referred to non-whites as “wogs” and “heathens?”

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the 1939 Zoltan Korda version , the most thrilling of the many efforts to film this story. They will also enjoy a parody of this genre, The Last Remake of Beau Geste. Other movies raising similar themes about what can and should inspire soldiers to risk their lives are The Americanization of Emily , The Red Badge of Courage, and We Were Soldiers. Families may also want to try Khartoum, a slightly more fact-based movie about the battles in the Sudan.



Previous Posts

Exclusive Clip: Ida -- The Story of a Nun Who Learned Her Family Was Jewish
I am delighted to be able to present an exclusive clip from "Ida," the new award-winning film written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-v82_JEXF-0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Poland 1962. Anna (newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska) is a beautif

posted 12:29:51am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Join Me at Ebertfest!
I'll be at Ebertfest through Sunday and will update when I can.  Tonight I'll be at the opening event, a screening of "Life Itself," the crowd-funded documentary about festival founder, Roger Ebert. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWLVD9g4SZU[/youtube]

posted 3:59:08pm Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: The Normal Heart
Larry Kramer's searing, Tony award-winning play "The Normal Heart" is coming to HBO with an all-star cast. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XMN75Opf1_A" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:57am Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

The Top 100 Animated Films of All Time: The Animators Pick
Time Out New York asked top animators to pick the greatest 100 animated films of all time.  All the Disney, Pixar, and Miyazaki classics are there, plus some surprises.  I have some disagreements, but am entirely in favor of the #1 pick. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAykOz1gWi4[/you

posted 3:59:23pm Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Daniel Licht, Composer of "Dexter"
Daniel Licht composed the music for "Dexter" as well as two of the "Silent Hill" video games and films including "Permanent Midnight" and "Stephen King's Thinner."  He talked to me about the difference between composing for thrillers and comedy and why he hit his guitar with a frying pan. Tell m

posted 8:00:40am Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.