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Spain 1812. After Ciudad Rodrigo, Teresa tells Sharpe that they have a baby daughter. In Badajoz, the next siege target. Meanwhile, a new commander has taken over the South Essex, along with the murderous Sgt. Obadiah Hakeswill, an old enemy of Sharpe's from India days. But a new commander means a captain trying to turn the Rifles into red-jackets, and Sharpe's only hope to command his company again is the Forlorn one. Written by
I regret that I must strike a discordant note here. All the other reviews of 'Sharpe's Company' are highly positive, but the film left me feeling uneasy.
It certainly has many strengths. The photography is good, as are the action scenes. The period feel is effective, and the history accurate. Sean Bean provides an impressive screen presence, ably supported by a good cast.
And yet...Several things stick in the gullet. How does the evil Sgt Hakeswill character get away with so much? Sharpe is an officer, and so can outrank him at every turn, but he only seeks to thwart Hakeswill from time to time, when it suits him. This allows Hakeswill to get away with - literally - murder, several times.
Why didn't Sharpe make more effort to protect the charming and likable Sally Clayton (Louise Germaine)? Hakeswill made his designs on her clear from an early stage, but no-one stopped him raping and murdering her at the end.
I realise that it is only fiction. Nonetheless, drama like this requires belief, empathy with the characters and a sense of poetic justice - and none of this was fulfilled by the Hakeswill parts of the plot.
Allowing Hakeswill to get away with so much also resulted in enormous holes in the plot. Why was Hakeswill not punished for shooting the boy ensign in the back? There were no French around at the time whom he could have claimed to be shooting at, and the weapon used could be easily traced to him, as it was an unusual weapon used by very few.
How did Hakeswill manage to rape and murder Sally Clayton when the camp would be full of other camp followers and sentries? Why didn't Sharpe chase after him after their fight in the city house at the end? (and thus prevent him from going on to commit the rape and murder). The film shows Sharpe giving up because a few redcoats were in the way - but they didn't stop him racing up to save his 'wife' moments before. He just barged them out of the way then - why not again?.
Since Hakeswill was shot and wounded by Harper, why did the last scene of him by Sally Clayton's body - chronologically very shortly after - show him fully fit and unwounded? And so on.
These aspects could easily have been resolved with a bit more thought and attention to detail - and a bit more compassion and desire for poetic justice from the writers.
It may not have spoilt the film for the other reviewers - but it did for me.
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