Friday, February 11, 2011

30 Days of Oscar: Day 15 - Glory

Movie: Glory
Year: 1990
Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Denzel Washington), Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing
Wins: Supporting Actor for Washington, Cinematography and Sound.  It was the year of Morgan Freeman, with this movie and Driving Miss Daisy, but he still didn't take home an Oscar.  Batman, My Left Foot, and Born on the Fourth of July also had a big year.

I'd seen Glory about 15 years ago, probably to see why they let Ferris Bueller play a soldier.  Now watching it again, I'm kind of looking at Broderick with new eyes.  I kind of wonder where this actor went - why he didn't become a great dramatic actor (is he just too short and funny-looking?).   He's the colonel of an all-black regiment from Massachusetts during the Civil War.  Being raised in the North, he sees the men in his regiment as soldiers, good or bad, and less as men, black or white.  Another surprise - Cary Elwes playing his fellow officer, and conscience.  Usually, it's impossible to see Elwes without thinking of all his comedic (intentional or not) roles, but he holds it together throughout Glory and adds the element of everyone's conscience when something that might be normal for a regiment, but seems too harsh for this regiment in particular (when Denzel's going to be whipped for deserting, he says not to, and we see the whipping scars already ingrained on Denzel's back and know why). 

It's a really great war movie (if sometimes adding modern PC moments that seem forced), paced well between training and battle and actual character development.  The soldiers are all an impressive group of actors - Denzel for his defiant, angry Private Trip, a mature, thoughtful, careful Morgan Freeman as Sergeant Major John Rawling, and a young, bookish, naive Andre Braugher.   They avoid cliche (which seems to be a hallmark of film-making this series has shown me so far, originality is king) while telling a "based on a true story" so well, that even though this movie is over 20 years old, it doesn't feel dated in the slightest - the music, the sound, the effects, nothing seems to stand out as having been made at a particular time (other than the age of the well-known actors, of course).  There were a few moments I couldn't hold back tears for their speeches, the determination and finally the loss inevitable in war.  5 of 5 stars/lambs


Jack L said...

Excellent review,
I haven't seen this one yet but it sound great and have an appealing cast so I'll try and get around to it soon.

Kano said...

I have seen this a few times and each time I kept wondering who the one soldier was - but for some reason I never looked it up. He looked familiar to me - it was Andre Braugher. I never would have guessed, he looks a lot different now.

Very good movie and definitely emotional. Great review.

Fletch said...

Hey, it's been about 15 years since I've seen this!

I think I'd be more apt to watch it if it didn't feel like I was back in junior high watching it in class. I know that's a terrible thing to say, but it's the truth. I recall it being a terrific film with amazing performances. Hell, even Cary Elwes is good in it.