Courage Under Fire

01  FEB
A medal for honor. A search for justice. A battle for truth.

Directed by  Edward Zwick
Written by  Patrick Sheane Duncan
Starring:  Denzel Washington (Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling)
Meg Ryan (Captain Karen Emma Walden)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Monfriez)
Michael Moriarty (General Hershberg)
Matt Damon (Ilario)
Bronson Pinchot (Bruno)
Seth Gilliam (Altameyer)
Runtime: 117 minutes
The pilot of a rescue copter, Captain Karen Walden, died shortly before her helicopter crew was rescued after it crashed in Desert Storm. It first appears that she made a spectacular rescue of a downed helicopter crew, then held her own crew together to fight off the Iraqis after her copter crashed. LT Colonel Serling, who is struggling with his own demons from Desert Storm is assigned to investigate and award her the Medal of Honor. But some conflicting accounts from her crew and soldiers in the area, cause him to be question whether she deserves it. - Brian W Martz

This is a very touching movie, but unlike many others movies, it doesn't seem to force the audience's emotions into tears, this seems more as a side effect. However, there isn't a single moment of real fun, this is an absolutely sober and thoughtful movie. The choice of the director not to push too hard on the scene of the medal given to the child is a very good idea, it would have been too obvious to end the movie this way. Actually, this movie features one of the best endings I've ever seen.

The plot is really compelling since the beginning as it isn't immediately clear where the story is going to. The most interesting idea is the description of the same truth under different points of view. Thinking back to the whole story, everything may seem quite predictable, but while watching the movie for the first time nothing is immediately obvious. The slow unveiling of the truth is absolutely intriguing and the various flashbacks are very well made.

The war scenes are very well made (it's the first good movie about the War in the Gulf I've seen), most movies show the negative and devastating effects of the war (usually the war in Vietnam) in a very cruel and brutal way while Courage Under Fire shows them under a different point of view, heroism and courage being the main points.

The only criticism I can make to the movie is the rather classical man that has become an alcoholic after the war and that has marriage problems, fortunately this is just a marginal part of the whole story.

Rating: 8.5  *****




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999