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Wicked Spring (2002)
What could of been
Well lets go with the positives. The photography, sound design and costumes are great. In fact the costumes may be the most accurate I've seen in a Civil War film. It's unfortunate that some reviewers are claiming the opposite (based on inaccurate Hollywood costume designers no doubt). I enjoyed what they did with it for a 500k film.
But the story? My God. After the battle was the most painfully boring film I've seen in awhile. We do not care about these men who just so happen to not notice each other's uniforms even though they are perfectly illuminated in the fire. Clues at to their true identity are spoon fed to the audience and any vet of the conflict would of realized within seconds who these guys were. Clueless film leads to a clueless ending. The ending should of had an impact, I was indifferent to the whole thing by then.
The actors were obviously not used to being in front of a camera. Pretty amateur.
I realize it's hard to do a historical film on 500k, but if you want an example of it done right watch "Saints and Soldiers".
Wonderfully Done with a Minimal Budget...
In the film "No Retreat From Destiny" viewers are presented with the events that led up to the Battle of Monocacy presented instead of with the usual Ken Burns photos/quotes but with live reenactments.
The cinematography is gorgeous and the editing is crisp and tight. I loved how they used the photos in this film!! The production design is amazing and the costuming is great.
There are a few drawbacks, some of these people are not professional actors and sometimes there are some awkward pauses in the script which leads to the cuing over some overly dramatic music. It's intrusive and kind of reminds you that you are in fact watching a film.
However if you have an interest in the Civil War or you are history teacher I strongly recommend this film.