A 19 year old (Heath Ledger) finds himself in debt to a local gangster (Bryan Brown) when some gang loot disappears and sets him on the run from thugs. Meanwhile two street kids start a ... See full summary »
Set in 1884 Sudan, this fifth film to be adapted from the A.E.W. Mason novel follows a British officer who resigns his post right before his regiment ships out to battle the rebels. Perceiving his resignation as cowardice, his friends and fiancée give him four white feathers, the symbol of cowardice, but little do they know he's actually going undercover and plans to redeem his honor. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
White, bright quartz lights when people are leaving the reception at the beginning of the film. See more »
By 1884 over a quarter of the earth's surface had been conquered by the British Army. There was no greater honor for a young man than to fight for Queen and Country. Those that refused the call to arms brought shame and humiliation on their friends and families...
The Symbol of their disgrace was the white feather of cowardice...
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Critics? Don't listen. This is a very, very good film.
The newest rendition of the Four Feathers is a real epic, aesthetically beautiful, sweeping, completely refreshing in terms of emotional presentation and scope for both characters and audience. This is one of the best of this year in terms of mainstream film.
The beginning drags, and the editing is confusing at times, the lighting is dark, and it has a rich (as in dense) atmosphere to it that can make it seem unnecessarily claustrophobic at times, yet which helps during certain scenes (don't want to give anything away). In fact the first 1/3 of the movie is a plum bore. But as soon as Harry goes off following some enemy spies, the movie flows beautifully. It becomes quite the rousing adventure, with lots of fairly disgusting dead bodies and their missing parts all over the place (surprising for a PG-13 flick) and the sole battle scene is one of the better ones I've ever seen, because it creates uncliched emotion, and it's very effective in creating a seemingly helpless situation, with great battle choreography to boot.
In a movie that has quite a few flaws, it does something really well, develops supporting characters (other than Wes Bentley). The 4 different comrades of Harry's, plus Adu (Hounsou's character), have faces and lives and are important to the flow of the story, though they seem fairly unimportant till it matters (again, don't want to give anything away), when something happens to them, you want to know, and care about, what will become of them. It was refreshing to actually know the fellow soldiers in a war movie for once! And it helps add to the great emotional impact this movie has.
The acting is OK. There are no bad performances, bad accents to be sure, but Heath Ledger ceases to be his heartthrob self and eventually turns into the character (somewhere between the chapped lips and matted hair I suppose), and provides a steady and trustworthy lead performance. Hudson, I think, is too big for her role, though she and Bentley both provided, again, well done and steady roles. Djimon Hounsou is really the standout. Other than technical aspects I don't think it'll get any nods, except maybe for Hounsou who is exceptional in the film.
I think that this is a very good film that boasts great cinematography, authentic and realistic costumes and excellent production design, and for me, a great emotional punch, plus a captivating adventure story. It's definitely not a teen flick, or chick flick, it's too gruesome and historical for either faction. And unlike other better systematically made films I've seen this year, it didn't feel "canned", too unoriginal, or overly pretentious, it felt fresh.
I think this suffered the fate of fairly bad advertising and early press and not living up to the expectation of "Elizabeth", but I'm glad I saw it because I really did enjoy it, a lot. Highly recommended.
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