For what it's worth, I appreciate the film medium interpretation of a book's story, and not try to compare or expect how detail or more poignant the book's descriptions were. Viewing a film, audio and visually taking in the collaborative efforts of a film production is not the same as someone reading a novel. Reading also depends on the environment that you're in: while traveling with people around you, or being quietly by yourself. Reading is very much one person's own interpretation - as one reads, one can conjure up the possible sight and sound in one's mind and imagination. While in a cinema viewing a movie, we are exercising our senses - visual and audio - of what's presented on the screen. The experiences are uniquely different.
In HART"S WAR, Colin Farrell who portrayed Lt. Hart is very much front and centered, while Bruce Willis' role of Col. McNamara, his (humane) attributes are more subtle and from within - his aching insides from the years of war and isolation. There is the struggle/conflict of the war veteran vs. the clean cut affluent background of young Hart. We see Willis' McNamara's treatment with Farrell's Hart more evidently, but for McNamara himself, say the quiet scene where he visited the flyer in isolation waiting for trial - more imminent of death, we simply see him giving Lt. Scott a book; when Scott opens it, it's the New Testament. It is later while Hart's talking with Scott outside the trial room just before the closing arguments, that we learned the book was Scott's own, with a picture of him and wife and child kept within the Bible's pages. So off camera, we may gathered that McNamara must have silently gone through Scott's belongings and took that New Testament to Scott, with the understanding that Scott may find solace in seeing the family picture again and as most soldiers would, felt duty above all else.or would he? And Hart, representing Scott as his defending lawyer, would he let him? Such are the subtle layers to the storyline.
Director Gregory Hoblit's previous films were no simple Hollywood plots. They all require some mind stimulating thinking: 1996's "Primal Fear," the crime and lawyers film with Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and the fascinating debut 'hell' of a performance from Edward Norton; 1998's "Fallen", one devil of an intriguing storyline where Denzel Washington, along with Embeth Davidtz, tackling the many faces (Elias Koteas included) of the elusive Lucifer (music was by Tan Dun of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; 2000's "Frequency" was the mind-twisting time-bending drama of son and father team, Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid. Here in HART'S WAR again, there are no simple answers to the questions raised: moral dilemma, military honors, ravage and trying times of war and being POWs - no escape of endurance tests. It's a well produced film with fine cinematography of stark snowy scenes from Alar Kivilo (who also did "Frequency" with director Hoblit); score to this war film was complemented (unexpectedly) by British composer Rachel Portman; and performances by a talented cast. I did see "Stalag 17" and "The Great Escape" again, but my sense is "Hart's War" stands on its own, it's not really a humor filled "17" not an action packed "Escape" movie, it's more of a humane story at its core, offering an aspect of life's outlook, military or not.
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