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Hart's War

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Hart's War

Starring: Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Rated: R
RunTime: 125 Minutes
Release Date: February 2002
Genres: Drama, War


*Also starring: Terrence DaShon Howard, Cole Hauser, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Rory Cochrane, Sam Worthington, Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures



Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

HART'S WAR is an intriguing courtroom drama set within the confines of a prisoner-of-war camp towards the end of World War II. Director Gregory Hoblit uses the same low-key and methodical approach that he applied even more successfully in FREQUENCY. He makes the most of a good cast, including Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard, by having them all slightly underplay their roles. But a relative unknown, Marcel Iures, who plays the Nazi camp commandant, ends up stealing the show. (If you can't remember where you've seen him before, it was probably in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE or THE PEACEMAKER.)

The story starts when Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Farrell) is captured while on a supposedly safe mission driving a higher ranking officer around in a jeep. Hart, a second-year law student from Yale, is assigned cushy jobs because his father is a senator. After a brutal interrogation, in which he may or may not have revealed certain military secrets, Hart is sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in which Colonel William McNamara (Willis) is the top ranking American officer. McNamara, a graduate of West Point and a fourth generation soldier, is itching to get back into the thick of combat, but it looks like he is destined to rot in the camp until the war is basically over.

Although the camp is nothing like the one in "Hogan's Heroes," it isn't quite as harsh as one suspects it would have been in reality. The commandant is certainly an unusual character. A graduate of Yale and a lover of "Negro jazz," he is absolutely delighted when someone is killed and McNamara insists on a full-blown military tribunal, complete with days full of evidentiary proceedings. Gleefully, he tells McNamara that it will be "like in your American movies." And, it is.

The movie begins to come apart as it reaches its conclusion. Several actions, major and minor, aren't credible. If you're flexible enough about suspending disbelief, however, few of these flaws will matter. The well-timed message of the movie, about the meaning of honor, is certainly one that resonates.

HART'S WAR runs 2:03. It is rated R for "some strong war violence and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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