This is a damn good sci-fi film with relevance to today's world. It truly captures the negative effects of war on a combat soldier, and shows the possibility of redemption through the soldier's exposure to a healthy life lived by compassionate people. There is also a warning here about where we may be headed in our efforts to create a more efficient combat soldier. Kurt Russel's character goes through a healing transformation that helps him get his head straight about who the real enemy is and what to do about it. I have often felt that what our soldier's need is a real decompression time after returning from a combat zone. Soldiers should go through a process that attempts to undo what war may have done to them. This time should be just as relevant as basic training and be a part of the combat soldier's total training process. Basic training for a war zone, the war zone experience, and decompression from the war zone, should all be a part of the soldier's training process and obligation. By adding the decompression period, at a location designed specially for this purpose, the combat soldier would, hopefully, adapt more easily to being back in a non-war zone environment. This would be good for both the war veteran and the civilian world he would be returning to.
So, see this movie if you get the chance. Do not go by the previous reviews. If you haven't seen it, take a look. You'll be glad you did.
Several million horses were killed in WW1. They were used by all sides, for everything from cavalry, to hauling artillery and supplies, to pulling ambulances - you name it. It was still a time when horses were more available than trucks. Being a WW1 buff, I had wondered if anyone would make a film that tells the tragic story of the suffering and deaths of so many horses in the war. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Steven Spielberg had made a movie about them. And for those of you who feel that the story is "mundane" etc., telling it through the eyes of a young man and his horse, makes for a movie that includes not just adults, watching a movie set in one of the bloodiest wars in human history, but one which includes the whole family, in a story that is accesible to young people as well. And believe me, while the story may be magical in it's outcome, there were probably thousands of such stories that were true, and included many young men who had relationships with their horses that were perhaps just as magical in their own way. The depth and breadth of World War 1 was too great for there not to have been.
An excellent graphic sketch of what happened in Nanking at the hands of the Japanese in 1937. For those with no knowledge of "The Rape of Nanking" and with little experience watching this kind of movie, it is shocking and unsettling. For those of us who know what happened there, and have seen many other war movies such Saving Private Ryan, The Grey Zone, etc. it will not be near as upsetting as what really happened there.
300,000 thousand people were raped, murdered, and otherwise brutalized during the Japanese occupation of Nanking. The movie can only contain some of the most central aspects of what happened. No movie can ever contain the whole story. This one does however give one an essential taste of how bad it was. And, by showing it through the eyes of a Japanese soldier, as well as through Chinese eyes, we get a more multi-faceted picture of what it was like. It must be noted however that the Japanese, to this day, do not, unlike the Germans, fully acknowledge that things like this took place. The truth is, however, Japanese soldiers did commit the atrocities portrayed, and then some. And very few seem to have felt, or later expressed, regret for their actions. The Japanese soldier of those times was inculcated with the Samurai code of Bushido. This code, plus the brutal treatment of Japanese soldiers during their training, made for a soldier who was generally brave, determined, and cruel. My own father survived the Bataan Death March and three years in a Japanese POW camp. His stories confirm everything shown in this film. It is an important document and testament to what happened in Nanking, and will go down in the history of film making as one of the best anti-war filmes ever made.