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The Patriot

Year: 2000
Studio: Columbia
Director: Roland Emmerich
Producer: Dean Devlin
Writer: Robert Rodat
Cast: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tcheky Karo, Rene Auberjonois, Tom Wilkinson, Adam Baldwin
Not just the pairing of Mel Gibson and the producer/director team of Devlin and Emmerich's, it's the bastard love child of everything about their respective movies.

For the former, courage, sacrifice, the pursuit of freedom and truth in everything from Braveheart to The Passion. For the latter, the rousing spectacle, big screen thrills and adventure of Independence Day and Godzilla .

The result is a historic movie about the struggles that shaped the world, all done with the popcorn sensibility of huge battlefields and action. Gibson is the only sensible member of the nascent government of the newly formed northeast of the United States, with the British pillaging the colonies for all they can and the rumblings for independence getting louder.

A veteran of earlier skirmishes with the British, Martin (Gibson) has seen the horrors of battle and seems to prefer bowing down to the English than let him or his family get embroiled in such carnage again.

He's virtually cast out, in disgrace even with the children he's trying to protect - particularly the idealistic Gabriel (Ledger) who wants nothing more than to join up and do his duty but hasn't seen how cruel and bloody the world can be.

The country starts to burn as the eeeeevil British come too close, the Martins hoping they'll be left alone if they keep their heads down. But the smarmy Tavington (Isaacs), commanding officer of the platoon, has to move the plot forward so the Martins are left with one son dead and their house ransacked and on fire.

Gabriel takes off, promising vengeance, and Martin is dragged back to his old ways as well, putting together and leading the militia rebellion from local farmers and merchants to lead against the British.

Essentially the same story as Braveheart (with the same villains, albeit a few centuries later), it's a loving tribute to an idea Americans want to see themselves as, a put-upon people who stood up to fight for their freedom and came through when the chips were down.

And it's all delivered with the fast-paced, cause-and-effect plotting, long-shot vision, ubiquitous American flags and impressive budgets wielded by the most Hollywood-friendly German director in the business.

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