Film Analysis of The Patriot
Available on Netflix
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Although entertainment is the primary purpose of cinema, historical films provide one way for the general public to engage with the past. The mix of fact and fiction can be disorienting for the viewer. In certain instances, the filmmakers bend facts for viewing ease. Some of these decisions are minor. For example, in The Patriot, the British cavalry wear red instead of the historically accurate green jackets so that the average viewer can more easily identify them as British. Some decisions are major, such as when those same British cavalrymen burned down a church and its congregants. While both sides violated traditional rules of war during the American Revolution, there is no evidence that the British ever locked townspeople in a church and set fire to the building. However, the purpose of that scene is to heavily slant the viewers’ impression of the British war effort.
As a budding historian and critic, you will consider the interpretation/argument made by the filmmakers about the American Revolution in The Patriot. You must critique those choices with the knowledge you have gained in this class from lectures and assigned readings. After watching The Patriot, write a critique structured around the following questions.
What is the central narrative conveyed by The Patriot? Do you agree with that message?
How do the themes in The Patriot compare with the interpretation of the American Revolution you have encountered in class lectures and readings?
(Pay particular attention to the portrayal of African-Americans)
Are there any explicit biases in the film? If yes, how do you know?
For more information on The American Revolution read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Revolution
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