Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"a magnificent ananchronism"

I just finished watching Patton this morning before work, and I have to say, I really loved it. George C. Scott was amazing in the role. I don't tend to love war movies (okay, save for Apocalypse Now and Platoon and Dr. Strangelove, and perhaps one or two others), and I was not expecting to enjoy this one. But Scott really put something real into the role. I loved watching him act. And there's a special feature on the DVD of Francis Ford Coppola talking about writing the script, and how he wanted to find a way to appeal to both those who loved & hated the general. I don't believe I really had much of any feeling about the man either way going into viewing the film, but there was much controversy over his tactics during WWII. (Which still remains today, from the looks of the IMDb message boards.)

(Spoiler alert; please don't continue reading if you don't want plot details.)
I have to say, I found the ending of the film initially surprising, but actually entirely fitting. While I was watching it, at one point I paused the movie to look up Patton on Wikipedia. I didn't mean to, but I read about his accidental death just post-war, and I was upset because I (unlike many people) didn't know about that going into the film. I sometimes really like going totally "blindly" into a film, not knowing a thing about it or really what to expect -- sometimes those end up being my absolute favorite films, simply because they haven't already been hyped to death by everyone else.

In any case, I figured I knew what to expect at the end, and thus was pleasantly surprised to realize that the credits were rolling with Patton still alive onscreen. I really liked the way the story was completed; it seemed totally appropriate and in line with the rest of the film. I don't think it could have ended any other way. And, as someone pointed out on the message board, the broken-down windmill especially painted Patton as a modern day Don Quixote. He was ridiculed and criticized, but ultimately he found his own way through. And the fact that he was left with only his (cowardly) dog as companionship was heartbreaking and yet truly appropriate.

The film really painted a modern tragic hero excellently. Part of it was the storyline & writing, part of it was the acting prowess of Scott. I think history was portrayed beautifully. And they say it was a fairly accurate film.

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Loyal to the Sky
AUTHOR: Marisa Handler

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