From Lincoln Kirstein’s book Lay This Laurel, Peter Burchard’s book One Gallant Rush, and Shaw’s own letters.
Matthew Broderick plays Robert Gould Shaw, who is put in charge of the first black volunteer company during the Civil War. (Historian-on-a-Stick lost no time in pointing out that it was a regiment, not a company. And that it was not the first. The things I put up with…)
The problem with being a movie reviewer is that if something is bad, one can be very witty about what’s wrong, going on at great length dripping vitriol all over the place…but if a movie is really really good, it’s hard to convey how good it is without either babbling or sounding like a doofus.
But this is amazingly good. Arguably the best thing that Broderick has ever done, although I might hold out for Ladyhawke…but it’s darn good. And he’s not the only good one, the cast also includes Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Total Honey Morgan Freeman.
There are a lot of explosions and battle scenes, but the characterization is even better than the explosions (and I, Otter, say this, believe it or not). Seeing Broderick trying to do the right thing, learning how to be in charge of and a part of this unique regiment, and seeing the men growing and changing and learning together is wonderful.
And it gets two thumbs up for historical accuracy from Historian-on-a-stick, who pronounces it the best Civil War movie ever made. Great soundtrack. Wonderful writing. Beautiful cinematography…oh, but I’m babbling again, it’s doofus time…
You just have to see this one, it’s really one of the best