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Hart's War
Hart's War (Soundtrack)
Hart's War (Paperback)

Hart's War Review

Directed By: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Vicellous Shannon.

Synopsis: Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) is a second year law student who is enlisted as an officer's aide in World War II due to his father's political pull. When he is captured and thrown into a German prisoner of war camp, top ranking Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) assigns him to defend Lieutenant Lincoln Scott (Terrence Howard), a black POW accused of murdering a fellow white prisoner. Hart must struggle against his privileged past to prove that he is a true man of honor, worthy of his rank. In preparing a defense for his client, Tommy stumbles upon a plot that will force him to choose between his country, his own morality and his life. Based on the novel by John Katzenbach.

Take into consideration that this movie review is being written by a man who over few days prior to this also screened John Q and Crossroads. It is true that in February and March it is typical for the studio's to bring out their weaker fare and drop it in the public's laps. So Hart's War, while not anything overly brilliant or amazing does tell it's story, gets you through it quickly, has some interesting moments without ever being dull. It slips once in awhile and is a little obvious in its plotting, but that is a small crime here.

Colin Farrell, the Hollywood darling go of the last two years...he was the one everybody (and rightly so) raved about in Tigerland and now he is one of the hardest men working in the biz, shooting The Farm with Al Pacino, finished Phonebooth with Joel Schumacher, Minority Report with Steven Spielberg and snagging a strong supporting role as Bullseye in the super hero flick Daredevil. The man can drop his thick Irish accent in a second and plays Lt. Hart, a man troubled by his previous actions during interrogation when captured. He soon finds himself defending a black man in a very biased trial. All of which, of course, helps him grow into his own.

When Hart first meets Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis), McNamara can tell that Hart is lying about his interrogation and sends him off to live in an enlisted bunk rather than being put up in officers quarters. A few short scenes later two downed, black Air Corp. Lt's are sent to bunk in the same barracks, not because they lied, but because of their race. In short order Lamar Archer (Vicellous Shannon) is set up by a traitorous American and then executed without a trial. Soon, the perceived guilty American is found dead with Lt. Lincoln (Terrence Howard) standing over the body. This time Lt. Hart convinces the reigning powers that be a trial is necessary.

SS Major Wilhelm Visser (played note perfectly here by Marcel Iures) feels this could be an entertaining waste of time, barks out an order that they have one week for the trial and the game is afoot. Nothing is in order and Hart is set to defend Lincoln in a trial he can not possibly win. Even the German Major Wilhelm confides this to Hart in a scene that is amazing to watch. Wilhelm tells of his attending Harvard in America, his background, his own sons death and in so doing brings in a human element often missing from the cartoon character Nazi's we often see.

However, as the court case begins, some problems that arise...for example, is the very important element of sneaking out of the bunks at night. The murdered man and the accused Lt. Lincoln Scott (Terrence Howard) follow a secret route that if revealed in court in front of the Nazi's would decimate any chances of escape for the POW's. Both Hart and Lincoln are cornered into telling another story which quickly backfires and makes Lincoln seem even more guilty.

If it were simply a court drama that would suffice for most films but what we have here is racial distinction, Nazi's, and some really good performances here from Terrence Howard, Marcel Iures, Colin Farrell and Bruce Willis brings a quiet, menacing Major McNamara to life that when it comes to the rather 'cowardly-heroic' ending contrived for the film it is a let down. For a movie that is arguing about racism even within its own ranks during WW2 it is sad that the white man must stand up for the black man...however, what studio is gonna' make a movie where the two leads get upstaged by a supporting actor?

Still, a more than reasonable and interesting three star (out of five) film.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Audio Commentary with Bruce Willis, the Director and Writer
Audio Commentary with the Producer
Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
Photo Gallery
Theatrical Trailer

Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
Standard 1.33:1
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

The DVD Review:

Evil Ash

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