In this movie, Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, was a retired British officer and a widower raising seven of his children in his farm. He held his principles steadfastly, which focused almost on his family and his interest in making rocking chairs which he never perfected. Thus, he did not want to join the war against the British. On the other hand, Gabriel, the eldest, was full of idealism and joined the American forces fighting the British in the Revolutionary War. Benjamin, who knew from first‑hand experience the horrifying carnage that war would present, discouraged his son from participating but Gabriel was determined to fight. Times passed, many towns fell to the British including their hometown.
Gabriel returned home after two years, stumbling wounded into the family home. That night, a battle between the British and patriots happened. They helped the wounded from both sides. The Green Dragoons arrived and killed all the wounded Colonial soldiers. The leader, Col. William Tavington, shot his son, Thomas, who was trying to free his brother Gabriel which was being captured.
This brought an enraged Benjamin to free his son Gabriel, with the help of his two younger sons. He left the rest of the children in the care of their aunt Charlotte, the sister of his deceased wife. The three of them killed the British troops holding Gabriel by ambushing them. While their brother was freed, his sons saw their father brutally killing men. He was called The Ghost by the British army because of his techniques and skills in ambushing. However, the Green Dragoons were still determined to go after Benjamin’s loved-ones that it led them to burn the house of his sister-in law, but eventually they escaped with the help of Benjamin.
He was then driven to lead the Colonial Militia, planning for strategies and getting involved in the actual fight to win over the seemingly formidable British Army. One of these strategies was to capture a supply line of General Cornwallis, ransacking all the food and comforts, including two Great Dane dogs of the general. He even tamed the dogs by taking care of them, making these dogs shift loyalties. This made Cornwallis angry. Cornwallis made a plan to trap the men of The Ghost and eventually succeeded. The British captured 18 of his men.
Benjamin then concocted a plan of deceiving General Cornwallis, making him believe that he also captured 18 officers, including a colonel who called him a cheeky fellow. He freed his men successfully with this strategy. In war, deception is one of the strategies to win over the enemies and this was shown in this part of the movie.
While at war under his father’s command, Gabriel married a lady from a town. However, someone led the Green Dragoons to the town where Gabriel’s wife lived and they eventually killed all the townsmen by burning them inside a church.
This brought Gabriel to avenge the death of his wife, but he was also killed in the process and his father was greatly saddened of this and swore to kill the leader of the Green Dragoons.
When an all-out battle commenced against the Redcoats, the strategy was to put the Colonial Militia under the command of Benjamin in front to show the high morale of the army to the enemy, but actually the main army of Colonial Militia was in the rear.
So, when the Colonial Militia was called to retreat, the Redcoats were surprised by the main army of the Colonials and thus were defeated. Eventually, Benjamin was given the opportunity to kill his nemesis, Tavington, who killed his two sons, hurting himself in the process. In the end, Cornwallis and the British army were pushed to their last base. Cornwallis was forced to surrender because the French army arrived, putting him into the shame of defeat.
Benjamin never perfected the art of making rocking chairs but this showed his dogged determination to finish a task no matter how many times he failed. That same intensity of avenging the death of his loved-ones was shown in the battlefield, making him a hero, a real patriot.
Producers, Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn; Director, Roland Emmerich. The Patriot. Released in 2000 by Columbia Pictures, 164 mins., Technicolor 35mm widescreen 1.85:1, digital 5.1 sound, DVD released Oct. 24, 2000.
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