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Men Go to Battle (2015)

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Men Go To Battle is the story of two brothers struggling to hold their crumbling estate together outside a small Kentucky town in the fall of 1861.


Zachary Treitz
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Charlotte Arnold ... Sissy Hamblin
Steve Coulter ... Mr. Small
Samantha Jacober ... Mary Gupp
Emily Kicklighter Emily Kicklighter ... Woman on Porch (as Emily Hyberger)
Rachel Korine ... Betsy Small
Stephanie Love ... Sarah
David Maloney ... Francis Mellon
Emily Cass McDonnell ... Rachel (Woman in Cabin)
Timothy Morton ... Henry Mellon
Delilah Rose Pellow ... Lilly
Annalese Poorman ... Mrs. Small
Morgan Raque Morgan Raque ... Warren
Turner Ross ... Valentine Atkin
Kate Lyn Sheil ... Josephine Small
Peter Smith ... Union Soldier


Kentucky, 1861. Francis and Henry Mellon depend on each other to keep their unkempt estate afloat as winter encroaches. After Francis takes a casual fight too far, Henry ventures off in the night, leaving each of them to struggle through the wartime on their own. Written by TV

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | History



Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

13 September 2016 (USA) See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,087, 10 July 2016

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director and co-writer Zachary Treitz based the story on his own family history. His ancestors settled an area of Kentucky similar to the community portrayed in the movie. He and co-writer Kate Lynn Scheil (who also plays Josephine Small) extensively researched local history from the period and read actual letters and diaries to get ideas. See more »


Henry Mellon: I'm hurt pretty good.
Francis Mellon: Let me see. Open it up. All right. Put that hand on it, and hold it tight. OK? Just keep it like that, all right?
Henry Mellon: I'm sittin' down.
Francis Mellon: Don't sit down!
[Henry sits on ground]
Francis Mellon: All right, sit down.
See more »

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User Reviews

Worth Seeing, But Much Work for the Reward
3 September 2017 | by Miles-10See all my reviews

"Men Go to Battle" (a somewhat misleading title) has its charms. The party at the Smalls' house vividly displays the similarities and differences between life then and now. (The research into detail will appeal to the history buff; although, this is not to say that every single detail is perfect because you can't expect perfection.) The plot points involving the Mellon brothers' competing ideas about how to run the farm and their sub-textual rivalry over Betsy Small (Rachel Korine) are compelling when reviewed in the end. Everything that happens leads up to a resolution of the brothers' relationship. We do not know what becomes of them after the movie ends, but we know that some things must be permanent.

Apparently, the movie achieved its economical budget ($500K) by using Civil War re-enactors to make the several military scenes. (They have their own costumes and gear, after all.) The war is far from glamorized. It is boring much of the time and parasitic on the civilians – except when it isn't, and you never know which it is going to be – and then, suddenly, there is death.

The story-telling is slow paced. The camera work is detached, static, ponderous, and often disorienting. When there are long shots – often starkly beautiful establishing shots – they are so static that they might as well have been taken with a still camera, but there are too many close ups and it is often too dark. The lighting appears to be entirely natural or at least imitates natural lighting. This is not a problem in daylight, but there are many scenes at night in which the actors seem to disappear into and reappear out of an inky blackness. What is going on? A second viewing does not clear matters up in every case. (Were the filmmakers too pure to use day-for-night filter technique to control lighting in night scenes?)

The dialogue is an odd mixture of the boringly pedestrian with sudden bursts of spontaneity. Consider a scene between Henry Mellon (Timothy Morton) and Betsy Small on her porch. There hasn't been a real conversation between a man and a woman up to this point. (Arguably, there still hasn't been afterward.) There is a party going on in the house, but, as it happens, Henry and Betsy both feel alienated from the frivolity, albeit for different reasons. There is a very long dialogue between them about the weather. It definitely has a subtext, which is interesting, but the bare text of the exchange is numbingly boring. (I am reminded of the late Judith Christ's observation that a movie that is about boredom is inevitably going to be boring.) The subtext almost earns this movie its mischaracterization as a comedy, but only if you do not fall asleep or gnaw your own leg off before the payoff.

A scene that illustrates the detachment of the camera and sound work occurs about halfway through the movie. Francis Mellon (David Maloney), Henry's brother, is in the general store buying supplies. There is a conversation between a clerk, whose counter is near the front window, and some Union soldiers who keep demanding tobacco even after the clerk has explained that he has no tobacco to sell them and knows no one else who has any. (The soldiers overhear Francis ask for some tobacco seed, and one of the soldiers comments, "You can't smoke that.") Francis then walks out of the store, but the camera remains inside, only showing Francis through the window. In the foreground, we continue to focus on the long-since pointless dialogue between the tobacco-jonesing soldiers and their dried up source. Suddenly, we become aware that Francis has said something to two soldiers passing on the street and one of them punches Francis, sending him to the ground. Only on second viewing do we hear the faint dialogue: Francis addressed the soldiers as "ladies", they took offense, and he got hit. Why is this in the background instead of in the fore?

I am glad I saw this movie, but I would not recommend it if you just want an enjoyable adventure that won't make work.

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