"Gods and Generals" A movie produced and directed by Ronald Maxwell, based on the book by Jeff Shaara Reviewed by Joe Childress "You're going to love this movie", said Dr. Mark Snell at the February Richmond Civil War Round Table meeting. Although most of the published reviews I have read disagree, I have seen the film; and I second Dr. Snell's endorsement. This is the Civil War movie that we've waited for. Historically the film adheres closely to actual events and dialogue. But more than that, peoples' attitudes are sympathetically (and accurately) portrayed. This is the main area of the professional movie reviewers' complaint: they don't like the facts! For example, Lee's loyalty to his state and family are presented as paramount in his decision to align himself with the Confederacy. From the standpoint of cinematography the film is beautifully shot on location in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. The character development of the principals may be inadequate for those who have limited knowledge of the Civil War, but Round Table members will find the portrayals on target, especially Stonewall Jackson, the movie's main focus. The score is well suited to the action and, to me at least, is reminiscent of "Carmina Burana". One minor flaw is that many of the actors are obviously older than their characters. Falling into this category is Robert Duvall as R.E. Lee. Nevertheless, Duvall does a "majestic" job (to quote Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune), conveying Lee's dignity and authority that is infinitely superior to Martin Sheen's execrable performance in "Gettysburg". Although the film is almost four hours long, I'm anxious to see the six-hour version promised for DVD release later this year.
Official Web Site: Gods and Generals
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