Great war epic with the Hopkins/Pitt duo.
mdtinney - wrote on 11/01/09
Edward Zwick's epic tale of a family struggling against the internal forces of nature that threaten to tear the family bonds apart is one of great acting, beautiful cinematography and strong writing that covers many years but doesn't drag on forever like some movies. The cast is headed by Anthony Hopkins as the Colonel, a former US soldier who dealt with the Indians in the late 1800s but now feels angry at the government for their way of treating them. He retires then secludes himself and his family to the remote areas of Montana along with his three sons. Then, years later, the youngest returns from school with his fiancée Susannah, played by the beautiful Julia Ormond. This sets the ground for heartbreak and sadness as well as beauty and love for all these charactersAs mentioned before, the acting is superb led by Hopkins, Henry Thomas as the youngest, most naive and idealistic son Samuel, . Aidan Quinn as the oldest and responsible son Alfred, and Brad Pitt as the wild and fearless middle son Tristan. This is perhaps the role that Pitt really broke out in and cemented him as one of the biggest stars of our time. Ormond is good too, although it seems she feels a bit overwhelmed amidst all this testosterone. What really gets to you, though, is the cinematography which perfectly captures the beautiful and seemingly endless landscape that is the American West. Set against this backdrop, there is great drama with war, love, death, and many other aspects of life in a story reminiscent of Doctor Zhivago or Giant. All in all, this is a great movie very well directed and written and perfectly capturing the era of the time. The ending is a bit contrite but is still a good way to cap a great story that is timeless in manner and context.