Revolution gets off to a great start with roving crowd shots and soon immerses you in the era. That is until Al Pacino in the guise of Tom Dobb speaks. His portrayal ruins what could have been a good movie. The filmmakers obviously did their homework with setting and costumes, but didn't tell Pacino to leave his gangster persona offstage.
Al Pacino's Tom Dobb is far from a Patriot. He does not like authority and just wants to be left alone. He does love his son, but does not love the idea of liberty, which makes Daisy McCaughanay's (Nastassia Kinski) infatuation with him all the more improbable. She's an idealist whose desire for liberty goes against the rest of her Loyalist family. Her falling for brooding Tom who is more interested in avoiding taking sides is ridiculous and their tender moments especially the one at Valley Forge ring hollow.
As stated above, the high points of the movie are in the crowd scenes when we are enveloped in the sights and sounds of the times and the low points are whenever the camera is centered on Pacino's acting.
After twenty minutes of the movie, I was thinking that the critics were too harsh. Sure, Pacino wasn't shaping up to be much of a hero just yet, but neither does Mel Gibson early in The Patriot.
After an hour, though, I was in agony since much of the movie from twenty minutes on had centered on Pacino and his horribly contemporary thuggish performance.
Finally, the movie ended and I was out of my misery.
The movie's portrayal of the British is pretty thin as well. Sergeant Peasy's first action is to run through surrendering Americans and he only grows more bizarre. He has some strange relationship with Ben, a drummer boy. It was beyond me to determine if it was father-son, brother-brother or even veiled homosexual.
Other than one battle scene looking like it involved less than fifty men and looked very sparse, the movie's production values were great. Although somewhat barren for the Spring scenes, England was adequately muddy and miserable looking for the winter scenes, while the New York scenes were enthralling.
Overall, I can only recommend this movie to those starved for American Revolution films. I personally will only watch this movie again to watch for the little details in the background and will likely mute Pacino's dialogue.
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