"Hart's War," is a war movie that defines heroism. Unlike most war
movies, it goes beyond pure violence and bloodshed. It encompasses
multiple themes of honor, manhood, and racial prejudice. It is an
action film as well as a drama. "Hart's War," focuses on the individual's
battle to overcome prejudice and seek justice.
Bruce Willis plays the callous and abrupt Col. McNamara, a fourth
generation West Pointer and the highest-ranking U.S. officer. Though
somewhat memorable, his performance is overshadowed by that of Terrence
Howard, as Lieutenant Scott the black lieutenant convicted of killing
the racist white soldier, Sgt. Bedford (Cole Hauser), and Col. Visser
(Marcel Iures) the cruel Nazi commander, who make the film. "Hart's
War," is a straightforward film that doesn't get caught up in special
effects in place of story.
Set in the 1940's it is the story of prisoners of war in Germany taken
over by the Nazis. Yet despite battling the German foe, the men are
faced with their own inner demons of prejudice amongst themselves,
when two black lieutenants Lt. Archer (Vicellous Shannon) and Lt.
Scott are taken in. Even though they are all fighting on the same
side, the two black men face abuse and animosity from the other prisoners.
Staff Sgt. Bedford plants a weapon on Lt. Archer and he is taken outside
and shot in the chest twice by Col. Visser for supposedly trying to
escape. His punishment is extreme and cruel for the crime he was framed for.
After Lt. Archer is executed Sgt. Bedford is murdered and Lt. Scott
is accused of the crime. A trial is set to take place. Col. McNamara
asks Lt. Hart (Colin Farrell), who went to law school for two years,
to act as Lt. Scott's attorney. Lt. Scott is angered to learn that
Lt. Hart, who is not really a lawyer, will represent him but a real
lawyer will prosecute him.
Lt. Scott professes his innocence to Lt. Hart and explains how hard
he and Lt. Archer had to work to serve their country in a fashion
other than a colored man would by being a cook or having some other
job viewed as menial. They were two lieutenants yet they were not
treated with the respect they deserved as such that a white lieutenant
would receive. Lt. Scott and Archer were assigned to sleep with the
other soldiers when it was customary for lieutenants to have their own quarters.
As the plot unravels, Lt. Hart discovers that Sgt. Bedford, a bigot
hated by most of the men, was killed by Col. McNamara for trading
information to the Germans and the trial was a farce planned by McNamara
as a distraction for the Germans, while the other soldiers escaped
by way of an underground route. McNamara murdered Sgt. Bedford fearful
that he would leak information of the escape tunnel to the Germans.
When Hart discovers the truth he reveals it to Lt. Scott, who he knows
will be convicted of the murder and executed. But is it fair for one
honorable man to die for the good of the majority? The answer to this
question is at the heart of the movie and will only be answered when
you go see the movie, which I highly recommend.
Copyright © 2002 Liz Quinn