The Four Feathers

"Grim"

The Four Feathers Review


In grade school, history lessons were painfully boring, but at least we learned the facts. I wish the same could be said for history lessons found in today's movies. Last year, Pearl Harbor wasted an opportunity to study the December 7 invasion - rather, it chose to pursue a useless love triangle. The Four Feathers is nothing more than an equally bad retread of Pearl Harbor. It has little to do with the history regarding British colonialism it seeks to explore; in fact, I doubt the film is even historically accurate. And, like the details of the Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor, the historical events in The Four Feathers only exist to provide the framework for the telling of a predictable and implausible romance.

Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger), a soldier with the British Army, is unwilling to travel into the Sudan with the rest of his regimen to protect British interests there. So, he resigns his commission. In response, Harry's fellow soldiers issue him three feathers symbolizing his cowardice for leaving. Looking for support, he turns to his father (a former military officer), who disowns him. As well, his fiancé Ethne (Kate Hudson), who provides a fourth feather and calls off their engagement. Unable to cope with the harsh reactions his decision prompts, Harry hastily departs for the Sudan to find a way to help his friends and redeem his honor.

While in the Sudan, Harry acts as a spy for the British in one battle, then a warrior for the opposition in another. Often times, it's difficult to understand where he is going, what he is doing, or why he is even bothering in the first place. To be honest, I don't think he even knows. I guess we're supposed to believe his journey is meant to win back the respect of his comrades, and especially the love of Ethne. Unfortunately, Harry's once faithful friend Jack (Wes Bentley), an officer in the Army, disrespects him by turning his own friendship with Ethne into romance. After that, the movie abandons the war on the front lines and focuses on the battle for Ethne's heart.

Many details unrelated to the love triangle in The Four Feathers are either thrown aside or left unexplained as it barrels toward its eventual romantic resolution. I left the theater wanting to know what happened to the rest of the British soldiers. Were they able to retake the Sudan? Once Harry completes his journey, the film abandons anything relating to the British army and their mission in the Sudan. I could care less what happens to Harry and Ethne's engagement or Jack and Ethne's continuing courtship - I had that figured out several reels before. With drawn-out speeches and romantic dribble in the film's waning moments, the three main characters only prolong the agony.

The Four Feathers attempts to achieve epic motion picture status with a small helping of monumental battle scenes painted against grandiose, sand-swept desert landscapes and vistas. It is indeed a beautiful picture to look at, and no doubt it will be considered for cinematography awards come Oscar time. But its sense of grandeur is quickly lost in the confusing and unnecessary melodrama. In short, The Four Feathers is exhausting. You just wish it would end; which, I guess isn't too far off the boredom of most history lessons.

DVD extras include seven featurettes and a making-of documentary, plus a full commentary from director Shekhar Kapur. If you liked the historical side of Feathers, you'll love this DVD.

Dude, like, feathers totally suck!



The Four Feathers

Facts and Figures

Run time: 132 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 2002

Box Office USA: $18.2M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: London Film Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 88

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Khalifa, John Clements as Harry Faversham, as John Durrance, June Duprez as Ethne Burroughs, Allan Jeayes as General Faversham, as Lieutenant Willoughby, Donald Gray as Peter Burroughs

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.