Saw this movie with my son today (Sunday 22nd Jan). This is like Saving Private Ryan a watershed war movie. It is fabulous to watch, the characters are realistic and well played so you care, the story telling is deft, there is no complexity her but that’s not the point. It is an uplifting story of brave men (all types of bravery) trying to do the best they can and winning on more than one level.
I will warn you that I do not go to movies to learn history, neither do I go to them to learn philosophy of life lessons, I go to be entertained. And most movie critics these days appear to be operating in a different plane and writing for each other not the folks in the real world.
The biggest problem I have had with many war movies up until recent time is technical. All the compromises that had to be made to make any large scale war movie and my inability to look past ‘minor’ issues like US M48’s used in The Battle of the Bulge to represent German Tigers/Panthers.
Red Tails shows that modern technology and good film making are beyond this, the setting is viscerally real throughout, providing a rich background canvas that the people and the action can play out in. Absolutely fabulous aircraft scenes throughout. When the only thing I could gripe about is that sometimes they made some of the ground sets look too old and worn I should just shut up…. and the mud and basic layout etc were again exquisitely done.
The men (and it really is all about men the only female character though sweetly played is only a set piece) are well played, it might have been biased for modern tastes but they came off as real, the relatively clean cut, slightly less demon ridden people of a simpler day men who were playing their part in two wars. One with bullets and one with hearts and minds.
This movie was rated very highly by the public and moderately low by the critics. The explanation I have for that is that the Critics cannot stand a movie that puts the bigotry of the time in the proper context. It was so obviously a constant drain on the men but it was the background to their lives, the constant slights many unconscious rather than direct attacks. I am very sure many critics wanted a movie that wallowed in the bigotry and hatred a bleak look at the dark hearts of men (we don’t need that, know all about it.) Instead what is here is a simply fabulous war movie about men I grew to care about that made its point about the utter stupidity of bigotry by positive rather than negative example.