6.2/10
566
7 user 1 critic

Point of Honor (2015)

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A Virginia family becomes divided on the brink of the American Civil War.

Director:

Randall Wallace
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Luke Benward ... Garland Rhodes
Patrick Heusinger ... Colonel Palmer Kane
Lucien Laviscount ... Elijah
Hanna Mangan Lawrence ... Estella Rhodes
Christopher O'Shea ... Robert Sumner
Nathan Parsons ... John Rhodes
Annabelle Stephenson ... Kate Rhodes
Riley Voelkel ... Lorelei Sumner
James Harvey Ward ... Cutler
Adrienne Warren ... Abby
Brett Cullen ... Ralston Rhodes
Tiffany Boone ... Phoebe
Callan McAuliffe ... Lockwood
Josh Pence ... Byrne Murphy
Cameron Palatas ... Charles Storey
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Storyline

At the start of the Civil War, a prominent Virginia family makes the controversial decision to defend the South while freeing all of their slaves, pitting the family against one another and testing their strength, courage and love. The pilot was co-written by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Randall Wallace (Braveheart) and directed by Wallace. Shot on location in Virgina. Written by Amazon Studios

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

15 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Richmond, Virginia, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nathan Parsons and Riley Voelkel have previously worked together in the CW series The Originals (2013). See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
(Uncredited)
Written by John Newton
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User Reviews

 
Horrible product from Carlton Cuse
14 September 2015 | by dial_zeroSee all my reviews

It's clear from the start that this revisionist look at the Civil War was in trouble when we find an Australian practically devoid of accent, Nathan Parsons, in one of the starring roles of "Point of Honor" as a West Point cadet from Virginia. His character, John Rhodes, is the eldest son of Virginia plantation owner Ralston Rhodes (played by journeyman actor Brett Cullen), a man who has unbeknownst to his family virtually destroyed their finances due to poor record keeping. To worsen their financial situation son John frees his family's slaves in an announcement to his fellow cadets on the eve of his leaving West Point to return to Virginia to defend his state in the coming hostilities. The plot hole of exactly why or how John is in a position to free slaves that presumably actually belong to his father is not explained.

Therein lies the revisionist problem with this entire episode. Hollywood has been on a tear in recent years portraying the social position of 19th century African-Americans in a light more favorable than they actually experienced (see Common's role in AMC's "Hell on Wheels" for another more recent example). Personally I think this is an injustice to African-Americans as an entire generation may be brought up not entirely understanding the plight of their people in years gone by. Like most (if not all) Southern states, Virginia law forbade the freeing of slaves. On rare occasions this law was skirted since the actual wording of the law was that any freed slaves must be removed from the state. The way around this was to have the slaves taken off shore via ship (thus out of the state), freed, and then brought back into the state: a cumbersome set of steps that most assuredly would take too much time to portray on screen. In my opinion there were other options more compelling such as the portrayal of free blacks in slave society which, although unusual, was not as uncommon as some might think.

In addition to the rewriting of history there were subtle errors with props, historical timelines and geography that gnawed at me as I saw them on screen such as the handguns owned by the Rhodes family. I don't think I've ever seen guns that were more toy-like than those seen in this episode. Next, the best friend of John Rhodes from West Point, a Northerner and presumably John's somewhat reluctant opponent in the series, talks to his commanding officer immediately after the firing on Fort Sumter about cutting off the railroad lines into Richmond in an effort to defeat the South early on. First, I think the writers might think Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, but it was several months after Fort Sumter before that happened. Second, they were far more concerned with protecting Washington, DC in the early days of the war than making incursions to the south of Richmond. The main rail lines into Richmond weren't actually cut until 1864.

There were a few things to like though such as the costumes which were top notch. The military uniforms looked to be straight out of a museum. Unlike others giving low reviews I thought the film location was fairly spot on for the Lynchburg, VA area (I travel there several times a year on business so I'm quite familiar with it) although one character made it sound like the Potomac was just over the hill from Lynchburg, VA when in fact it's a couple hours away even by car.

I REALLY wanted to like this show especially after reading that Carlton Cuse was a writer, but after watching the episode I have a hard time believing he was involved with this project. I'm usually pretty good with ignoring plot inconsistencies when watching an engaging TV show or movie, but the creators and writers of this program are asking too much of this amateur historian with an apparently limited ability to suspend disbelief.


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