Based on a true story of the American Civil War, culminating at the Battle of New Market, May 1864. A group of teenage cadets sheltered from war at the Virginia Military Institute must ...
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Based on a true story of the American Civil War, culminating at the Battle of New Market, May 1864. A group of teenage cadets sheltered from war at the Virginia Military Institute must confront the horrors of an adult world when they are called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley. Leaving behind their youth, these cadets must decide what they are fighting for. Written by
This movie's narrative is split between two stories: a handful of boys at a military academy who are learning to become men; and a handful of military commanders planning their fate. Unfortunately, one of these stories is far more interesting than the other.
The boys at the school prank one another, get into trouble, hit on the local girls, and dream of becoming war heroes. We see the same "brother in arms" narrative that has pervaded most movies, except here is seems forced and unnatural. The actors do their part and do it pretty well, but I feel at times the writing is pretty clunky.
Occasionally we cut from the boys to various military leaders (and President Lincoln) and hear their perspectives, ideas, opinions, and watch as they try to out-fox one another. I was far more interested in this b-story than I was seeing young boys awkwardly dance and talk to girls.
The film really picks up in the third act when we FINALLY get to see some of the war. The production is great and could stand beside any Civil War in terms of quality. By this point in the story, however, I had lost patience with the characters and just kind of zoned out. Strong ending, but the first half of the movie is pretty rough.
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