After his own son is murdered by the
British dragoon Col. Tavington (Jason Isaacs) and his house is burned
down, Martin breaks out his cache of flintlock rifles and takes
his 10 and 12 year old boys on a raid against the cruel invaders.
Indeed "The Patriot" shows the inception of guerilla warfare
in America, loosely based on the exploits of Francis Marion the
"Swamp Fox," hero of the Disney TV shows.
Martin's prayer, "Lord, make me fast and accurate," makes the
ensuing bloodbath all the more ironic. The brutal, graphically violent,
hand-to-hand fighting with hatchet and musket is so shocking that
even his boys are speechlesss at the transformation of their father
into a blood and gore drenched killing machine.
In the age-old conflict between family and duty, the son tells
his father, "I'm a soldier. It's my duty [to fight]." The father
replies, "Your duty is to your family."
In this context -- a patriot, by the way, is "a person who loves,
supports and defends his or her country" -- the film is framed around
the question -- when does self-defense becomes the most important issue in a man's life?
As an answer, Martin's pacifism disappears and he joins his war
veteran friend Col. Burwell (Chris Cooper) as the head of the South
Carolina Militia. "Going muzzle to muzzle with the Redcoats in the
field -- it's madness," he says, as he develops his own hit-and-run
fighting style which wreaks havoc with what the British consider the "proper" protocols of war.
As the farmer-turned-soldier continues to melt his murdered son's
tin soldiers into lead balls for his musket, the war moves on through
more battles, more slaughter and more bloodshed
"I have long feared that my sins would come back to visit me
and the cost is more than I can bear," he says. Mel Gibson's performance
as the vulnerable grief-filled family man, the man of constant sorrows,
is made more poignant by his understanding of the karma of war.
Just as the film "Gladiator" defined The Betrayal of the Warrior,
the theme of "The Patriot" is The Warrior's Redemption. The inconsolable
grief of seeing your children die in battle is made more poignant
by the Warrior's ineffable understanding. "You can justify this
sacrifice? Why do men feel they can justify death?" he asks.
German-born director Emmerich's staging of the spectacle of the
American Revolutionary War and its atrocities, as well as the grueling
emotions of combat are bereft of the gung-ho drippiness of "Independence
Day." The sticky sentimentality of Rodat's "Saving Private Ryan" is also thankfully absent.
Curiously, however, the film omits any mention of the mercenary
Hessian (read German) soldiers who were drafted and sent to the
New World to fight for King George III.
"The Patriot," however, will be provocative to the anglophiles
who are so vocal on behalf of the "cousins." British film reviewers
have chided Gibson for so-called "historical distortions," i.e.
Brits have not always acted like ruthless nazis in pursuit of their
Empire. The mayor of Liverpool even asked for an apology regarding
the portrayal of the Tavington character. Several of Gibson's other
movies, after all, have had British villains, notably "Gallipoli" and "Braveheart."
"The Patriot" is also resonant with the immediacy -- and politically
incorrect inferences -- of current history. When the British colonel
burns down a church full of people, one can't help but be reminded
of the Waco Massacre and the slaughter of the innocents by FBI snipers,
Delta Forces and other government troops.
In another pointed remark, the Mel Gibson character says, "I
believe you underestimated our militia."
"The Patriot" then is Mel Gibson's shot across the bow, a note
of warning to the New World Orderlies and the globalists who would
promote their schemes for a tyrannical One World Government. The
film is also a powerful anti-gun control statement, and a pointed
reminder that as long as Americans have weapons, they will defend themselves.
Unilateral disarmament of the people of any nation has always
been a precedent to the holocaust which invariably follows.
When the foppish Gen. Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) is shocked by
the war's outcome, he sneers, "This army of rabble. Peasants."
It's a wink to the audience that the tyrants of the world will never
fully overcome the indefatigable forces of freedom.
Tyranny will not stand -- whether in Soviet Washington or
in the globalists' plans for genocide and world enslavement.
Moral of the story? Keep your power dry.
Copyright 2000 Uri Dowbenko. All Rights Reserved.
Uri Dowbenko is CEO of New Improved Entertainment Corp. He can
be reached at by e-mail at email@example.com