Ride with the Devil (1999)
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What a great movie this is-- a lot of well-rounded characters and memorable performances, a Western epic in the tradition of Old Hollywood-- violence and cynicism mixed with naiveté and romance and wonderful old-timey dialogue that highlights the youth and innocence of these would-be warriors. It would be difficult to release this today without people making a fuss over the Lost Causer protagonists, but it's fairly clear that we're supposed to sympathize with Holt and Roedell's otherness and status as outsiders, swept up in something unspeakably nasty because of old-school notions of loyalty and friendship. Yes, it is too long and the last half hour has a loose feel that kinda makes what came before less impactful. Rhys Meyers gives basically the same performance as he did in Titus, the very same year; that is to say he is a histrionic, cartoony, exaggerated villain, whose youthful good looks and outlandish attitude can distract from the overall film (though he is fun to watch). But those are minor gripes. Ang Lee delivers another great, beautiful period piece. Recommended. Also Jewel reminded me a lot of Florence Pugh in Gerwig's Little Women.
Here's a great essay about the film: https://www.academia.edu/12374017/Alls_Fair_in_Love_and_War
Ang Lee knows how to make beautiful pictures, this one set around bushwhackers in the American civil war, from a southern perspective. Feels more like a western than a war-movie. The nonchalant violence fits perfectly with the love stories. a strange form of realism and a bit to long.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #87 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #586 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #975 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?