The Four Feathers movie poster
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The Four Feathers movie poster

The Four Feathers Movie Review

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Heath Ledger, Djimon Hounsou, Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson star in "The Four Feathers," a British war-drama about a dishonored man who travels to the Sudan to help his friends.

After resigning from duty shortly before his unit is to be sent to the Sudan to take down rebels, a British lieutenant is given four white feathers from his friends and fiancée, each representing their opinion that he is a coward. In light of this, and having lost everything that he loved and held dear, he travels to the Sudan to help his friends, but ends up getting stuck in the middle of battle in a foreign land unlike anything he has seen before.

Ledger does a good job as the lead character, a man torn between his duty to country and his personal feelings. Essentially, he plays the protagonist of protagonists upon arriving to the Sudan; his character is culturally sensitive and also brave. At times this may seem a little overkill for any British officer, but it lays the groundwork for the theme of the film; what is the importance of a desert to the British empire? The question relates to many things going on today.

"The Four Feathers" is a well-done, entertaining drama that has some good action, decent romance, and good performances from all of the actors, especially Wes Bentley. In fact, Bentley's character is the most interesting, as he is the one most loyal to his friends but also most loyal to his country, and who in the end pays a terrible price. It would actually be sort of interesting to see the story from his perspective, looking at his views as to why he is fighting over a desert, and why his best friend decided to leave the military at the last second.

While the movie does slow down a little too much in the last fifteen minutes, my only real complaint is focused on the cultural theme of the film. Since the movie is essentially about a man that questioned the purpose of his country's dominance over another, I was expecting more cultural insight into the Sudanese. Instead, the movie presents a few decent scenes but for the most part still portrays the "bad guys" as ruthless (yet intelligent) warriors. I would have liked to see more of a perspective from their side, and not just from the likes of Djimon Hounsou, who's character is good but a little confusing... Where is he from? What group is he with? I don't know.

"The Four Feathers" has a few slow parts, especially towards the end, but has a few good action scenes and some pretty good drama. Wes Bentley does a particularly good job.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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