Gardens of Stone Reviews
I must see for all who wish to understand the conflict.
Best Scene - Promotion! Coppola gets the "old Army" regardless of his Vietnam experience. JE Jones is the SNCO we all wish we had met.
However, not flawless, not by any measure. Francis Ford Coppola, who gave us three of the greatest movies in history - Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and The Godfather II - plus the excellent The Conversation, is not in his best form here. (In fact, the only time he was in form was in the 70s...). The plot drifts, whole scenes are there for no reason other than padding, there are continuity issues, and the point seems a bit murky at times. Also, the first scene spoils the movie, to an extent, in that it gives away the ending. Remove the first scene and the movie would have been more impactful.
Mixed performances. DB Sweeney is a bit weak and unconvincing in the lead role. Best performances come from the old hands - James Caan and James Earl Jones - who give the movie gravitas and feeling.
Anjelica Huston is unconvincing and touch irritating in her role.
Interesting to see that real-life father and daughter Peter Masterson and Mary Stuart Masterson play father and daughter in the movie.
Worth watching for Francis Ford Coppola fans but not a must-see otherwise.
Its a quiet film, focused on the characters and there lives against the backdrop of the war and its casualties, of which they are. The Vietanam war polarised opinion and made rational debate almost impossible. Gardens of Stone tries to address this.
Watch it if you can - its one of James Caan's finest roles.