Books and Movies Reviews

The Patriot

has hollywood gone too far in the patriot?
The Patriot, the American 1775-1781 War of Independence epic starring Mel Gibson, is the subject of much controversy worldwide. So what is all the fuss about?
Spike Lee hates it and many Britons are taking issue with it. It’s a big-budget, summer smash-hit, blockbuster war epic. So why is The Patriot provoking such venom? The Patriot is a big, big movie with a big, big star, tackling a big, big subject. But, as is increasingly the way in Hollywood, such minor details as history and factual detail, take a backseat to the stuff that gets millions of moviegoers into cinemas. The Patriot’s ace card is Mel Gibson. Everyone loves Mel, right? Even if you think his films are toss, which many of them are, you can’t resist that cheeky grin, those world-weary wrinkles and those rippling biceps. Mel’s a hero, no question, from Braveheart to Lethal Weapon to the wacky rooster in Chicken Run. He was born to save the day, climb the mountains, slash the swords, lead the charge, get the girl, beat the baddies and so on. So we’ve got Mel, good start. All we need now is a story, one that’ll appeal to an American market, because, HEY, that’s where the munzo is! Here’s a good one: a story based on one of the heroes of the American War of Independence.
Mel plays Benjamin Martin, and Benjamin is based on the character of Francis Marion who was known as the ‘swamp fox’, a hero of the Revolutionary War and the man credited with inventing guerrilla warfare. In The Patriot, Mel’s character leads the battle against King George III’s army of vicious Red Coats. But there’s more than meets the eye with this story or, at least, the eye of director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin’s camera (remember Godzilla? Independence Day? That’s them). In a letter to the editor of the Hollywood Reporter, Spike Lee (Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing, Son of Sam), America’s

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