Dave P. (Philly) from TROY, OH Reviewed on 10/23/2010...
Great War Movie.
0 of 9 member(s) found this review helpful.
It couldn't happen this way, but I loved it anyway!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 04/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoy war movies. This was no exception. The only problem is that I don't think this story could have ever happened. Once I realized that, I could relax and let myself be held in an iron grip of twists and turns of the plot, constant surprises throughout and an inevitable satisfying conclusion. No, this film is not primarily about an escape effort by a group of POWs in Nazi Germany as the trailer would have you believe. It's much more complex than that. It's about heroism and sacrifice, but it's also about racism among our own troops and the hard decisions that people have to make.Bruce Willis, cast as an American colonel in the prison camp, actually has the right to command his men even though they are incarcerated. He is considered the star of the film, but the real star is Colin Farrell, cast as Lieutenant Tommy Hart, whose capture and interrogation is presented in gruesome detail. By the time he arrives at the prison camp, we have already seen him under pressure and we have doubts about his strengths. The prison camp is crowded and when two African-American Tuskegee Airmen are captured, there is blatant racism among the other prisoners. When a murder occurs, Bruce Willis convinces the German commandant to allow him to conduct his own military trial right inside the prison camp. This is where reality breaks down, but the story is so intriguing that it just led me on. Another piece of great casting is that of the SS Major, played by Marcel Ivres. He plays his role with just the right amount of arrogance and contempt and the viewer gets to see him as an individual and not just a stereotype. And Terrance Dashon Howard, cast in the role of the black officer on trial, is excellent.Filmed in Prague, we are treated to the excellent cinematography we've learned to expect and the long shots of the winter landscape are excellent. The acting is consistently good, the theme modern, and the plot riveting. It's a good story, well told. If, later, it seems a little incredulous - well, who ever said a movie was supposed to be real? Some might find it too violent, but for war-film aficionados, I definitely recommend it."
An enjoyable film with strong performances
Jason Cheng | Catonsville, MD | 02/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all let's get one thing straight, although the setting of Hart's War is during World War II, this is not an action movie along the lines of Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan, instead, it is more of a who-done-it type of drama film. With that out of the way, Hart's War is about the experiences of Lt. Thomas Hart during his stay at a German POW camp (the Stalag 6A) in 1944, nearing the end of the war. Inside the compound he meets Col. William McNamara, the highest ranking officer in the place, even in prison, all US soldiers and officers still answer to McNamara, and the chain of command is expected to be followed. Things start to get out of hand after two black fighter pilots enter the camp, and when one of them is accused of murder, Hart is assigned to defend him in the court martial, if he fails, the man will face the firing squad.The strongest part of Hart's War is the performances, not just by the leads but also the supporting cast. Bruce Willis proves once again that he is a talented actor, not just another action star. His portrayal of McNamara was right on, it's as if the role was tailored specifically for him, and in every scene he held a commanding presence. Colin Farrell also did a good job as Hart, compelling and measured, I really like how his character struggled between his allegiance as an officer and his duty to his client. Fairly new to Hollywood, he's definitely someone to keep an eye out for in the future.The script is another big plus for the movie, I found it ironic that these soldiers were sent to Europe to fight a war against the Nazi and the their so called ethnic cleansing, but instead, they are fighting their own racial prejudices in the POW camp. The hatred some of these enlisted men have for their fellow African American comrades was sometimes even more intense and pronounced than what they shown towards the enemies, Hart's War was able to accurately illustrate the hardships blacks have to face in the war even among allies. Top it off with excellent dialogues, Hart's War is one solid drama.The only problem I had with the movie was the ending, it's not bad, just a little unexpected, but not enough to ruin the whole experience for me. I strongly recommend Hart's War to anyone who wants a little change of pace from all the big action war films we've had (and are going to have in the upcoming months,) I sure wasn't disappointed."
The imminent end of WWII doesn't bring happiness to everyone
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"World War II is rapidly winding down. Soldiers on both sides realize that Germany will surrender in the near future. Lt. Thomas Hart (Colin Farrell) has the misfortune to be captured by the Germans and sent to Stalig 17. He is greeted by Col. William McNamara (Bruce Willis), a third generation West Point career
officer. The latter is not pleased at sitting out the remaining time of the war as a P.O.W. Col. McNamara has a family tradition to uphold, and the gods of the universe are not cooperating. Someone with a more prudent disposition might decide to patiently wait to be liberated. The Colonel, though, is not so inclined and has every intention to rebel at every chance he gets. Marcel Iures is splendidly cast as the German P.O.W. commandant, Col. Werner Wisser, who loves American Jazz, and seems totally disinterested in Nazi ideology. He has a job to do, and merely desires to stay out of harm's way. There is no sense in needlessly irritating the inevitable winners of the war. The German officer is more than willing to cut the Americans some slack as long as they sufficiently abide by the camp's rules. Iure's character is indispensable to the plot, and his performance should be remember when it's time for the Oscar nominations.The addition of two Afro-American pilots disrupts the harmony of the camp. The racist attitudes of a few white prisoners threatens to endanger the safety of everyone. One of these racists is murdered and this is when the story really takes off. Terrence Dashon Howard admirably portrays the black pilot suspected of the
crime. It is Lt. Hart's duty to defend him in less than ideal circumstances. Is the black officer guilty? If not, why is he being framed, and by whom? Director Gregory Hoblit puts together an intelligent movie highlighting the racism of that period. Some viewers may be surprised to learn that Nazis were often better treated by white Americans than the blacks who served in their own military. The film has some weaknesses, but still is worth seeing. There's enough here to give it four and a half stars."
Pleasing But Improbable War Film!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 09/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another in a series of recent films that seem to be less interested in plot plausibility than with getting a great ensemble cast together to spin a decent yarn. For me the problems with the plot here really strain the credibility of everything else, and although I liked the performance of all concerned, I found myself impatient at points because it all seemed far too contrived. Having said this, the acting is uniformly good, and I found that to be the one redeeming feature of the film. 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!"