Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Courage Under Fire (1996)

About six weeks ago, Courage Under Fire was on television. My roommate was watching the last half hour and she was surprised I had never seen it before. I'm so frequently the one surprised by the films she hasn't seen, I had to rectify this apparent gap in my film knowledge in order to right the world. So I Netflixed it.

It was entertaining. It borrowed heavily from the concept of Rashomon but understandably didn't execute it quite as well. Matt Damon and Lou Diamond Phillips' characters didn't actually have differing points of view - they were just lying. I found it strange to be seeing not what they actually think they remember but rather a filmed version of their lies.

I also find Denzel Washington too dignified and elegant to come across as a man with a drinking problem. He's practically a walking emblem of integrity - even when playing flawed characters. He doesn't quite fit into a character who is tortured the way this character is supposed to be. There's a scene where he meets up with a reporter and the reporter tells him he looks awful. My thought was "no he doesn't." He was dressed a little ridiculously but he still looked like dashing Denzel Washington.

Matt Damon, on the other hand, did look awful. Kudos to him for looking like the gaunt addict he was playing.

I was engaged beginning to end and I was very curious to see the mystery unfold. No question this was a well made, interesting, Hollywood film. Next time it's on t.v. I can sit and let it play in the background without worrying I'll be spoiled.

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