Sunday, December 26, 2010
185. Ride with the Devil (1999)
Don't think you are a good man. The thought will spoil you.
This is a criminally underseen movie from genius filmmaker Ang Lee. Tobey McGuire, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Skeet Ulrich, Jonathan Brandis (RIP), James Caviezel, and Jeffrey Wright head an amazing ensemble cast that tells the little-learned story of the western front of the Civil War. In U.S. History, we spent about fifteen minutes on Lawrence, Kansas, but this movie makes the story real. Lee uses one of my favorite "war movie" techniques by making the story extremely personal. At the same time the themes of racism, classism, and southern pride are easily captured through the eyes of very realistic fictional characters. One of the most important aspects of this movie is the dedication to authentic dress and language. The characters speak with a different rhythym that transports the viewer to the middle of the nineteenth century. This movie also contains the only acting role from singer/songwriter Jewel.