Only once in its history, has the U.S. been at war with itself. In 1861, the Southern Confederacy is formed, and the American civil war ignites. Along the Kansas / Missouri border childhood friends Jake (Tobey Maguire) and Jack (Skeet Ulrich) join up as horseman, raiding the North's Union soldiers and sympathisers. With a harsh winter looming, their unit, known as the Bushwhackers must disperse and find shelter. Several squad members hole up in a hidden hillside dugout. Their vigil is brightened only by a compassionate young widow, Sue Lee (Jewel Kilcher). Then, the realities of the war intrude, splintering the group. In the intense and brutal battle, the young men reach turning points both in the fighting and in themselves.
Mixed reviews but plenty of good bits
- Ride with the Devil review by CD
I quite enjoyed this film and would rate it between a 3 and 4 star. The dialogue is a bit awkward but forgivable given the assumed intention to recreate some of the more formal speech patterns in the 19th century. The acting is generally good and the scenery is a definite positive. The plot is the main weakness and the action sequences seem rather thrown together, but this is compensated by the second half of the film where the pace slows a bit and the personalities are brought out more. It is a bit frustrating that the lead characters never really question the wrong they are doing under the cover of war. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you enjoyed the director’s Jane Austen work by way of comparison.
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