.

Gods and Generals

Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Mira Sorvino

Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1
Community: star rating
5 1 0
February 21, 2003

The mighty wind of speechifying can knock you unconscious in this 217-minute Civil War epic from the folks who brought you the 248-minute Gettysburg in 1993. That would be writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell, executive producer Ted Turner and some 7,500 battlefield re-enactors. This prequel to Gettysburg, based on Michael Shaara's book The Killer Angels, is derived by Maxwell from the bestseller by Jeff Shaara, Michael's son.

What the filmmakers fail to recognize is that history on the page is quite different from what it needs to be onscreen, namely alive and visceral. From the opening scene, in which Gen. Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall) sits down for a long chaw on why he, as a Virginian, can't lead Lincoln's army against the Confederacy, the film is hobbled by the sound of its own grandiose voice and its damn-those-Yankees bias. Duvall, Stephen Lang as Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Jeff Daniels as Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence pontificate so often that the action, in the battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, must fight to register. Gods and Generals, with a new Bob Dylan song, "Cross the Green Mountain," lasts from 1861 to 1863. It seems much, much longer.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Vicious”

    Lou Reed | 1972

    Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com