The Patriot staring Mel Gibson is a movie that stirs mixed emotions.
The movie itself is very good. A rousing adventure that captures the American Revolution in way that it has not been captured on film before or since.
Since the majority of the film deals with the partisan aspects of the war in the Southern Colonies it deals with the guerrilla tactics that men like Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens and Isaac Huger proved effective. Gibson’s character in the film is sort of an amalgamation of all these men and more with the majority gleaned from Francis Marion. In this Gibson does a very good job in playing the part.
The true stand out though is Jason Isaacs who plays William Tavington in the film as a stand in for Banastre Tarleton one of the most talented and gifted officers in the British Army that seemed to be everywhere during the southern campaign. Tarleton was also one of the most vicious and brutal warriors in the field on either side and Issacs brings this man to life so well that even today when reading about the war his face stands in for Tarelton’s.
Now for some of the bad I suppose. The history is played fast and loose, the timeline is a little wonky, and the “major” battles leave much to be desired. This is the thing. While some of those things are sins, they are not unforgivable.
When I first saw this movie I remember leaving the theater and hearing people talking about the American Revolution. To be honest this is not something I run into in the real world, so even if this movie is a not perfect history it has the power to make people interested. and that alone makes it worth seeing.