by Isabel Lyman
4 July 2000
The review you didn't read in Time Magazine:
Are you tired of feminists who think men are chumps?
Are you annoyed at gun-control proponents who want to enervate the Second Amendment?
Are you frustrated by wussy pastors who avoid controversy in the pulpit?
Are you dismayed by revisionist historians who dismiss the Founding Fathers as rich, white slaveowners?
Are you sick of politicians who ignore the Constitution?
Are you irritated by public school teachers who condemn the American Revolution?
Are you shocked by judges that ban prayer from the public square?
Are you chagrined at multiculturalists who prefer globalism to nationalism?
In short, are you burned out by the the anti-American, anti-God, anti-family petty tyrants that no citizen, even those in Montana, can escape?
If you answered yes, yes, and yes, allow me to suggest an entertaining way to get a respite from these losers and celebrate the 224th birthday of the United States, all at the same time.
Go see Mel Gibson in The Patriot.
Set in 1776, this epic filmís main character is an American colonist named Benjamin Martin (Gibson). Martin, a widower, lives quietly on his South Carolina plantation with his seven children. Dad is also a hero of the French and Indian War, who has become an outspoken pacifist. Consequently, the ex-veteran wonít support the burgeoning revolution against England, because, in his words, Iím a parent. I havenít got the luxury of principles.
His 18-year-old son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) feels differently. After the South Carolina assembly votes to have their colony join the rebellion, Gabriel, against his fatherís wishes, enlists in the Continental Army.
Martin is heartbroken but returns to the homestead to tend to his obligations as a gentleman farmer and busy father. Martin, who keeps a mysterious tomahawk tucked away in a chest, does not remain on the sidelines for long. British soldiers soon occupy Charleston, and a battle literally breaks out on Martinís front lawn.
In the heartwrenching and action-filled scene that follows, Gabriel is condemned to hang as a traitor by the wicked Colonel William Tavington (Jason Isaacs), who also shoots one of Martinís other sons. To add insult to injury, Tavington orders his soldiers to burn down Martinís home.
An audience packed with Braveheart fans knows itís only a matter of minutes before the tomahawk will be ably wielded by Martin. For he now has two good reasons to, once again, be willing to kill: to protect his family and to fight for the American cause.
The movie is visual candy for the eye. Scenes of swamps, forests, and ocean, are dazzling. The battle scenes are simultaneously graphic and mesmerizing. The acting is first-rate, the script is full of wit and wisdom, and the costumes are classy. In the two hours and forty minutes it takes to watch this film, theater-goers will laugh, cry, gasp, clap, and fume.
The Patriotís megastar, Mel Gibson, is a kinder-gentler William Wallace. Gibson is sooo believeable as the dedicated, loving single father who also commands the respect of a ragtag South Carolina militia. There is little coarse language, no sex scenes, and many spiritual moments. (Two caveats: Donít invite little kids or squeamish adults, as the impalings and decapitations are not infrequent. And, one well-endowed actressí low-cut dress was unnecessarily distracting.)
But the other star of the movie is the about-to-be-born young Republic. In 1776, the fledgling country looks like a good place to settle if you donít mind homesteading and being surrounded by flag-toting, God-fearing adults whose children know how to load and fire a musket. The film is also director Roland Emmerichís bouquet to the rough-hewn, farmer-soldiers who fought valiantly against General Cornwallisí snotty Redcoats.
Statists will jeer and sneer The Patriot. America Firsters will be firecracker-proud of it. I give it a thirteen stars-and-stripes rating. Donít miss it!!
This column was first published by MyRightStart.com on July 4, 2000.
Isabel Lyman holds a doctoral degree in Social Science and is author of the Cato Policy Analysis, Homeschooling: Back to the Future? A former editorial columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Massachusetts, her views have appeared in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily. She is currently completing a book, The Homeschooling Revolution. Ms. Lyman may be contacted via e-mail by clicking here.
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