Focus Point - The Patriot

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Today I want to send you to the movies-- specifically to "The Patriot," Mel Gibson's American Revolutionary War epic.

Most movies about the revolution haven't been very good. But Gibson's terrific, and his character, a farmer reluctant to fight because he's haunted by memories of his own brutality in the French and Indian War, is complex and well-developed. We know he's going to fight, but Gibson makes his conversion -- sparked by the cruelties of the British -- believable.

Next, the film unflinchingly shows the depredations visited on Patriots by Redcoats and Loyalists, a reminder that many actually did suffer during the long years of war. And the portrayal of 18th warfare, where ranks of soldiers slaughtered each other at 40 paces, is gripping.

Finally, while there's some literal flag waving, the figurative kind is more subtle, and is more effective for it. "The Patriot" isn't perfect; it veers into sentimentality and the chief villain, wonderfully played by Jason Issacs is too nasty by half. But see it.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, how much spending is too much?