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The Four Feathers
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The Four Feathers More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Terrible movie. Waste of time.

Author: pogoman from NJ
17 February 2003

This movie is really bad. It is way long and there's no action on it. This movie was super boring. Towards the end of the movie I wanted every character to die already. What a waste of production. The plot is super weak. Go rent Braveheart instead.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Victorian officer redeems his place in society by playing the hero

Author: jdlevene from United Kingdom
1 January 2007

I have seen a number of versions of this film from the original to present day. This was undoubtedly the worst. It completely lacks the finesse of the earlier versions, there are few action scenes which lack excitement, and the rest of the film is slow, tedious. Utterly boring!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whilst the film is supposed to be about English gentlemen, none of the actors properly fill the role, and the representation of Victorian society is sorely lacking. Again a comparison with the earlier versions is inevitable. The music is good, and it seems that many of the scenes concentrate on the music rather than anything else, with long moments of nothing but music, when there should be action.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Read a history book before you make a movie...

Author: Ted from At sea
5 October 2002

This film has very little to do with the novel on which it claims to be based. Historically it is highly inaccurate. To take one example of a good many, no British soldier wore a red jacket on active service in 1898. The last time the British Army wore red in action was in 1885 & it was unusual then. The Mahdist ansar became a very nasty type fanatic & killed many, many thousands of their own people. This is much the worst of an often remade story.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

the four mistakes

Author: dertilee from Athens, Greece
19 November 2002

After having enjoyed more than once the massively impressive "Elizabeth" i was intrigued by Shekar Kapur's next choice of tackling a much remade and widely known adventurous romance like the Four Feathers. Sadly and predictably, no matter how many efforts were made of adding a fresh air of modern international affairs to the subject matter, the whole notion is so dated and predictable that it cannot stand the test of time without showing the seams. Flashy direction, loose script, totally unsuccessful use of music and underuse of young talent, combined with a sense of boys'own adventure flick, all add up to little more than a "full" plate of mindless entertainment with a few memorable moments, especially the ones with Wes Bentley who shines in his role as a devoted British officer (something that cannot be said about the rest of the cast). Overall not the sort of work to be expected from this director.

In the future he should be less certain that he can take a well known work, completely reverse its point of view and get away with it.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Forget this version, see the 1939 one instead

Author: Michael1958
4 March 2003

This film had so much promise, the story is one full of romance, action, honor and so forth. The 1939 version is fabulous, just one problem, it isn't politically correct. However, the action is better and the story is more believable. In 2002, it seems near impossible to make an old fashioned adventure film about the British Army putting down whacked out religious fanatics in The Sudan in the 1800's. That isn't the whole story, to tell you more would give it away. Trust me on this one,the 1939 version is better-it does not have any political correctness to it. The battle scenes are great and for those who champion the little guy, the British Army still get's it's butt kicked in a couple scenes, so see-it will make the feeling guilty PC Anglo feel like there is some justice in the world. Forget the last remark-see the film for some old time adventure in the movies, not the 2002, the 1939 one. Enjoy.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A truly horrible film

Author: captainky from Canada
6 April 2003

The Acting and the plot of this film are flat out horrendous.I dont know how anyone can watch this movie and not start to question it immediately. The story isnt properly explained throughout the film. Over and over you are wondering, "how did that happen??". How does Heath Ledger manage to get himself on his soldier salary to Sudan to follow the troops? How do the locals not notice a guy among them that has European features?, How does Heath's best buddy, blinded and bleeding, make it back to England when he surrounded by the enemy in the desert?How does Heath even manage to keep the feathers on him after he is put into the prison? How does Abou get shot in the one scene (carrying Heath's buddy( and then emerge without a scratch. Dont directors think of these things before they release a film? The acting is embarassing as well. Kate Hudson is awful as the love interest here and Heath is pretty average. All in all a giant waste of time!!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very poorly done

Author: Neal Crowley (nealrcrowley)
23 September 2002

This is a terrible movie. Some of the battle scenes were good but the rest was awful. The movie made no attempt at all to put the events surrounding the Mahdi's rebellion against the Egyptians and the resulting British intervention in context. Given the Mahdi's close resemblance to bin Lauden the movie could easily have drawn obvious conclusions about Islamic fanaticism. This would have been politically incorrect however, and this movie is poster child for political correctness. The heroes are all third world types. The British officers are presented in so shallow a way it is impossible to care what happens to them. I couldn't wait for this loser to end.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Nothing Changes In The Sudan

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
14 September 2008

The popular A.E.W. Mason novel The Four Feathers gets its sixth film version if you count a 1977 one made for television with Beau Bridges. Heath Ledger stars as protagonist Harry Fevasham who resigns his commission on the eve of his regiment being shipped out to the Sudan during the early 1880s to contain an uprising by the Osama Bin Laden of his day, the Mahdi. If you remember that's the fellow who was played by Sir Laurence Olivier in Khartoum.

Ledger comes from a family with a military tradition and its just expected he join the army. To placate Dad he does, but he doesn't count on a war, who ever does. His messmates led by Wes Bentley and even his intended bride Kate Hudson think Ledger a coward. He's not so sure they're not right.

But he decides to go to the Sudan in any event, he does speak the languages by dint of his military background. Ledger goes to test his own courage and grit. What happens there is the bulk of the story.

Most people remember the version of The Four Feathers from Paramount in 1929, one of their last silents that starred Richard Barthelmess and William Powell. The British did their own blockbuster version in 1939 with John Clements and Ralph Richardson, one of their very earliest films in color. This one compares admirably with both of those.

What it does do is give a picture of the Sudan very much as it is today, a land of bitter poverty and racial strife. The Moslems versus the Christians versus the Nativist religions. A dose of British Imperialism in full swing at the time didn't help the situation one bit. A lesson to be learned, but probably won't be by the people that should learn it.

Still the story of Ledger finding himself in that desert country is still one that has a lot of merit for today. Heath gives a fine account of himself in the lead role and also to be noticed is Djimmon Hounsou who plays the native who pulls Heath's buttocks from the proverbial sling.

Heath Ledger's legion of fans will be pleased with The Four Feathers.

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17 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Unjustly overlooked

Author: ereinion from Norway
26 October 2007

In my opinion, The Four Feathers deserved a better fare. While not a classic, this film is one of the few adventurous historical epics made in the last decade that really tried to do something with that worn out genre. Shekhar Khapur is without a doubt a capable director and here he succeeds in recreating some of the spark that epics like "Lawrence of Arabia" had. That's what makes this film a worthwhile affair.

Heath Ledger plays a young English cadet officer who refuses to join his regiment to fight in Sudan. This is the end of the 19th century and the colonies are just starting to rebel against their oppressors, in this case the British Empire. That is what makes Harry's involvement a moral question and his decision not to participate in the war against the natives is seen as cowardice. At the same time his friend Bentley and fiancée Hudson don't understand Harry's actions and treat him the same as the rest of the establishment.

The story is well crafted and the scenes are shot very well, especially action scenes. The photography and the music complement the film well. Ledger delivers one of his best performances here, although Hudson is a wooden doll as usual and Bentley doesn't get enough screen time. Djimon Hounsou is always a pleasure to see and his character is sympathetic since he plays Ledger's only friend and ally in a difficult situation.

The anti-colonial stance and the epic nature of this film make it a quite unique work. Some argue that it gets boring, but that can't be avoided with such films. Even Lawrence of Arabia wasn't always exciting and in comparison with Master and Commander this is a much more exciting film. Those who wrote it off the first time oughta give it another look.

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24 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful-Looking, Old Fashioned War Melodrama

Author: noralee from Queens, NY
22 December 2005

"Four Feathers" reminded me of "Dances With Wolves," a beautiful try at PC reinterpretation of a soldier's role in an imperialistic war.

While I haven't read the original novel or have seen any of the previous five filmed versions of the story and my knowledge of the history of this period is pretty much formed by movies and "Masterpiece Theatre," this is the first one done by someone born in a former British colony, director Shekhar Kapur, so I was curious to see how the natives were treated (well, more like the Pawnee than the Lakota in "Wolves").

This version also carries today's symbolic weight of Western soldiers against Muslim warriors, especially as the enemy is identified as the Mahdi -- who Osama Bin Lama proclaimed as the last glory of Islam that he aspired to replicate.

This new interpretation has Heath Ledger refusing to fight in the Sudan not because of the cowardice symbolized by the titular feathers but more in the spirit of Country Joe McDonald's view of the Viet Nam War.

I got lost a few times in the geography and rescue choreography and found Djimon Hounsou a noble African with no motivation or reason for being there whatsoever.

However, the cinematography is gorgeous and will all be lost in video. Particularly thrilling are the battle scenes, which rate up there with "Barry Lyndon." I was especially impressed that Kapur didn't keep repeating the same sight lines, as most show-off directors do about shots that must have taken hours to set up.

While crossing and re-crossing the sands didn't make a lot of sense with little explanation as to survival, the treks and fights there were lovely.

And heck, I'm a fan of the three leads, Ledger (who looks great even in a fright wig), Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson (who mostly gets to dress up and look pretty), so I just sat back and enjoyed an old-fashioned big-screen Hollywood adventure (despite the endless chatter from the row of old ladies behind me).

(originally written 9/21/2002)

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