16 April 2010 1:41 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Interview | See recent The Hollywood Interview news »

DVD Playhouse—April 2010

By

Allen Gardner

Ride With The Devil (Criterion) Ang Lee’s revisionist take on the Civil War is awash in moral ambiguity, along with some stunning cinematography, production design, and fine performances. Set during the Kansas-Missouri border war, Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich star as two friends who join up with the Confederate-sympathizing Bushwhackers, finding an odd ally in a former slave (Jeffrey Wright). While it’s fascinating to see America’s bloodiest conflict through the eyes of a foreigner, thereby allowing much of the previously mentioned ambiguity a certain latitude, the film never loses the bad taste it leaves for one simple reason: it asks us, the audience, to side with not just the Confederates, but some of the lowest trash that made up the dregs, and the fringes, of the movement. Big points for audacity, but snake eyes on the story itself. Singer Jewel is impressive in her film debut. »

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