Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Joy, Richard Tyson
Director: Robby Henson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Drama, Military & War
In the Kentucky countryside where Rebel and Yankee allegiances are mixed, a woman whose husband is fighting in the Confederate army houses a small band of Federal soldiers, much against her will. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 7/27/2011...
a very different kind of movie with good acting from the major stars. A watch again
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Elizabeth H. from MOUNT JULIET, TN
Reviewed on 1/6/2011...
You can't walk away from seeing this movie without thinking about it! It runs deep in the midst of this terrible historical time in our country. We never lose the human side that longs to be known and loved.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Carolyn A. (milkmaid) from GAINESVILLE, MO
Reviewed on 8/21/2008...
Nice story about civil war times...Not as much Kristofferson as I expected but still worth the viewing
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gritty, Raw and Beautiful film about the Civil War
Mercy Bell | 10/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pharaoh's Army" defies formula. Instead of selling out for cliches and big stars, it relies completely on the excellent acting from a strong cast, the strength of a well written script, and a fascinating and bitter story. The result is a raw and realistic film that moves along fast, with a heavy emotional current. One of the best I've ever seen about the Civil War, and I think it can owe that to the pleasure of being an independent film (if you like this film, try to see the brilliant indie Civil War film "Wicked Spring" as well). "Pharaoh" simply tells the true story of a small expedition/forage team of Union men who ride into a Confederate farm to take provisions, but end up stuck there because of an accident of one of the men. Tensions broil and relationships are made and broken. Nothing happens the way Hollywood would write it; this movie comes from the mind of someone who actually cares about quality film and the telling of history. Superb dialogue and plot exposition move along a film that looks highly professional, but often doesn't feel like you're watching a movie, more along the lines of hearing a story.The film boasts an incredible performance from Chris Cooper who shows an amazing versatility in the exploration of his role. He transforms, but is always at the height of believability and is easy to emotionally relate to. Patricia Clarkson is equally as stellar and realistic in a role that many actresses would crumble in. She shares an interesting chemistry with Cooper's character and where she's the more severe of the characters, is still as easy to identify with. The rest of the cast is quite capable, and fill their roles in well.The art design and the set are wonderful, and personally I love the cinematography. It all has the feel of a Civil War period photograph with the camera presenting strong contrasting colors and shadows and a tin-like metalic tint, but always keeping the naturalistic look of the rustic setting. They seem to have used natural lighting, but whatever they used works beautifully. Everything looks like it belongs where it is, it feels period, something I find rare in American period films. The actors act 19th century, not like 20th century people in old clothes.Above all, this film is very personal. I think that as an indie it can afford it. The film is nearly flawless with an outstanding script that effortlessly creates and explores the relationships and personalities of these characters and lets them grow in a situation, as bad as it is. It doesn't fail in getting it's point across, and it gets it's point across without the usual and overused techniques that are used in all war films these days. It's brave. It relies on it's characters, a fantastic script, human emotion, and in the cold hard fact that the Civil War wasn't all CGI, big stars, and hoop skirts."
"I don't guess the Civil War was about bein' decent."
Theo Logos | Pittsburgh, PA | 05/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Civil War is the most ironically named of wars, for there was no civility to it. It was a ghastly, vicious, blood feud between countrymen and neighbors where decency was among the first casualties of war. That fact has often been lost in big sweeping dramas about the Civil War where we can focus on the grandeur of great armies in motion and the big concepts of honor and cause. Director Robby Henson forces our attention back to the ugly truth of the war by focusing on a much smaller story. No great armies clash in `Pharaoh's Army'. Instead, we see only a tiny rural community in the bitterly divided boarder state of Kentucky, where neighbors rein terror on each other according to their allegiances, and where a small group of Yankee soldiers comes foraging; stealing chickens instead of fighting Rebels.
The film opens with the funeral of a little girl, who is later that night exhumed and hurled without ceremony out of the cemetery; Union neighbors would not have the body of a Secesh's child resting with their kin. A later scene shows an old farmer and his wife who were murdered and thrown into their well as their house burns for the simple reason that they sent two sons to fight for the Union. Into this bitter savagery rides a small band of Yankee soldiers foraging food from Rebel's farms. They have not yet been in battle, and are more than a little chagrined to be stealing chickens rather than fighting Rebs. An accident to one forces them to hold up at the farm of Sarah Anders (Patricia Clarkson) a Rebel's wife who burns with a barely contained righteous rage against all Yankees, yet has no choice but to submit to their demands to protect herself and her boy. The Yankee captain (Chris Cooper) has not yet learned to hate from the war, and struggles to show as much kindness and decency as he can to these folk he is robbing of their substance. The heart of the film is the tense relationship that develops between the Yankee Captain and Mrs. Anders as they discover occasional moments of shared humanity, but are left starring at each other over the impassable, blood filled gulf of the war, and discover that in war, hate trumps kindness, and there is no decency.
Patricia Clarkson absolutely shines in her role as Sarah Anders. With a mere glance she is able to show the strength, pride, hate, longing, despair and fortitude that holds the fierce Mrs. Anders together. Chris Cooper matches her with his own brilliant and subtle portrayal of Captain Abston, tormented by his own gentleness as he struggles to be a soldier. Kris Kristofferson's cameo as the Preacher provides more ambiance than acting, but is still a nice touch. Shot on location in the hills of Kentucky, the film is as beautiful as its story is tragic.
Robby Henson succeeded admirably with `Pharaoh's Army' in showing the human cost of the Civil War; not just in lives lost and blood shed, but in the living's loss of their humanity. This film is a tragic masterpiece, and you should not miss it.
One of best Civil War films yet made!
Theo Logos | 01/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all the gushing about a certain, current Civil War film I find myself going back to 'Pharaoh's Army' and wondering why this movie couldn't have been given the same accolades.Was it the lack of big-name cast, crew, producer or director? Was it the fact that this film was filmed in the U.S. and not in Romania? Of course, the director of 'Pharaoh's Army' didn't have the bucks to afford stars so big that they dwarf the marquee. This director also paid more attention to the historical truths and accuracy of the Civil War period whereas that certain other, current film did not.'Pharaoh's Army' succeeds where this current, much-lauded film falls flat on its face. It portrays human, flesh and blood people. There is no grand epic of walking back home for hundreds of miles. No grand showing of the Civil War battle of Petersburg.
'Pharaoh's Army' is set in the simple hill country of the Western theatre. A vignette of Civil War life intruded on by a foraging party and the results from it. Chris Cooper and the rest of these true stars are subperb and bring a life to their roles that the current, present movie can't touch and which has the initials of 'CM'. 'Pharaoh's Army' is the film that should have been in Oscar contention. It has everything that other movies lack in this genre. It is my pick as one of the very finest of all Civil War films."