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Tears of the Sun (2003)

118 minutes

Directed by Antione Fuqua
Written by Alex Lasker, Patrick Cirillo

 · Bruce Willis
 · Monica Bellucci

Review by Dante

The war film craze has certainly levelled off since it's explosion after Saving Private Ryan and the 9/11 tragedy, but it certainly hasn't disappeared. After his disappointing outing as a soldier in Hart's War, Bruce Willis needed another attempt. He found it in Tears of the Sun, and I'm proud to confess it's much better as far as war films go.




Tears is not the most accurate or brilliant of war films. The characters seem to behave considerably different than their real-life counterparts would, the combat tactics and gear seem borne of Hollywood, and quite frankly, there's little logic as to why the mission at hand is a mission at all. Why would the military go to such risk to extract a single volunteer doctor?

Those are not the film's strengths. But Tears of the Sun is not a thinking movie so much as it is a feeling movie. In my opinion, this is among the most emotional impacting war films I've seen, perhaps second only to Saving Private Ryan. Fuqua goes to good lengths to show the SEALs' faces and emotions between battles. By slowing down the pace, the director effectively brings the ambiguity of war and the determination of the warriors to the forefront.




As I said, this was a feeling movie, and as such it was entertaining. It was further made entertaining by an impeccably chosen cast, from leads Willis and Belucci down to Cole Houser and the rest of the supporting staff. Those cast as the SEAL team in particular make up a very believable yet personal and enjoyable group, led by Willis, who turns in a well-done serious warrior role with a touch of his trademark bad-boy humor a la Die Hard.

There's little beyond the characters that make this film enjoyable... In fact, the action is plain and the plot is certainly not captivating. However, the characters are so well-implemented, it makes up for the lack of strength in those other elements.



If this were any other week, I'd suggest you just wait for Tears of the Sun until it's out on DVD. In the midst in the war for Iraqi liberation, however, I must say this is the perfect film to go see if you want reinforcement of the purpose of our current campaign. More than anything else, Tears is about good versus evil, and more especially, good versus ambiguity.

How do we know we're doing the right thing when we go into a country as we are now? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Sometimes it's easy to think we're just going after free oil. But Tears of the Sun reminds us that the greatest importance is to approach everything with a compassion and reverence for human life. If those can be maintained, even in time of war, then we can be assured we are just.

Perhaps the Edmund Burke quote displayed at the end of the film says it best: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

504 Words Published: 22 March 2003

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