"The Great Santini" by Amanda
symp4thedevil - wrote on 05/09/13
By the film description, I was expecting something much more regarding a father/son relationship oriented story. Instead, Robert Duvall plays the same character he did in "Apocalypse Now." The era the film takes place is about a decade prior to America's involvement in Vietnam, and almost acts as a prequel to Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." The man who loves the smell of napalm in the morning is at home...bringing up four kids with his stay at home wife in the south. He continues his career as a Marine, yet always takes his work home with him. He gets his children up very early every am. They refer to him as "sir!" during family meetings and receive discipline akin to boot camp training. Especially his oldest son. What turns into discipline, quickly escalates into abuse. The moral of the story? Love and honor your father... even when you know he is wrong. The film does an excellent job depicting a tough relationship like this, however the film really never delves into what made Duvall's character what he is. Perhaps the relationship with his father? His experiences in World War II?
The film ends poetically...a glimpse into the future that will be the Vietnam war...and the choices the family has to make forward. A movie that could have been great, but instead wanders into cliche storytelling.