Volume 95, Issue 77
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Nothing like propaganda
Hart's War makes truth fiction
By Jonathan Higgins
In December 1944, the Allied forces had the Germans on the run as the Second World War was nearing its close. Unfortunately, for Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell), his stay as a prisoner of war was just beginning.
Hart's War follows his story from his first day at the camp. He learns quickly that the camp commandant Major Wihelm Visser (Marcel Iures) is in charge, after witnessing the execution of three American soldiers.
More importantly, Hart meets the highest-ranking American prisoner in the camp, the American who takes responsibility for all of his fellow soldiers Colonel William McNamera (Bruce Willis).
While a stay in a POW camp is clearly never enjoyable, McNamera tries to make it as pleasant for the American soldiers as possible. However, all that vanishes when two black fighter pilots are brought to the camp, which leads to an increase in racist sentiment directed at them by their fellow Americans.
Hart's War's main fault lies in the casting.
Although Willis is convincing as the imprisoned American POW leader for the first third of the film, he buckles under the pressure when his character must show a little emotion near the film's end.
Going into this film, the character of Colonel William McNamera looks to be right up Willis' alley. This character is similar to others Willis has played but despite his experience in such roles, he still manages to fall short.
Another miscast is the African-American character, who is not only at the heart of the film's racism theme, but also the driving force behind the plot. Terrence Dashon Howard plays the character well, but not to great success.
Halfway through the movie, Hart's War begins to resemble a collage of war films cut and pasted together.
One inaccurate aspect of the film was the director's attempt to persuade the audience into thinking the Germans and Americans are friends. The audience never gets the idea that the American soldiers are actually in a POW camp. From what the audience sees, the camp was called a prisoner of war camp, but really it appears to be more like a summer camp for American soldiers run by Germans.
On top of Hobit's inability to present POW life in an authentic manner, he also presents the German officers as incompetent and downright idiotic.
The trailer for this film says it is based on a true story. However, it is difficult to decipher how much, if any, of this film is actually based on real events. It comes across as Hollywood's version of the truth, as opposed to the actual truth.
All this garbage leads up to an extremely illogical and unnecessary ending. But, considering all of the film's problems, the ending shouldn't come as a complete surprise.
Copyright © The Gazette 2002