Monday, December 1, 2014

Field of Lost Shoes
Released April 13th, 2014, DVD on December 2nd, 2014
1 hr 36 mins
Rated PG-13


 Director: Sean McNamara

Luke Benward as John Wise   
Lauren Holly as Mrs. Clinedinst   
Jason Isaacs as John C. Breckinridge 
Tom Skerritt as Ulysses S. Grant   
Keith David as Old Judge   
David Arquette as Col. Henry DuPont   
Zach Roerig as Jack Stanard   
Gale Harold as Charles Semple   
Mary Mouser as Libby Clinedinst   
Josh Zuckerman as Moses Ezekiel   
Nolan Gould as Robert / Sir Rat   
Max Lloyd-Jones as Sam Atwill   
Sean Marquette as Benjamin 'Duck' Colonna   
Erik Audé as The Hawker Courtney Gains as Capt. Chinook   
Werner Daehn as Franz Sigel   
Parker Croft as Garland Jefferson   
Alexa Yeames as The Girl at the Dance   
William Flaman as Doctor  Brandi  
Nicole Feemster as Martha Ann   
Michael Krebs as Abraham Lincoln    

Review by Stephen M.    

Field of Lost Shoes shows us another side to the Civil War that is seldom explored as the losing side.  Loosely based on actual events, the movie focuses on a specific battle that included fresh recruits from Virginia Military Institute.  Though the film may suffer a bit from over-acting and average props and costumes, the story itself is enduring enough to be entertaining.  
  The movie which focuses on several particular kids in the military academy also explores the conflicts and decisions the military leaders had to face.  The film doesn't particularly paint the Union side in a positive light, in particular Ulysses S. Grant (Tom Skerritt) as a rather ruthless psychotic and Union Commander Franz Sigel (Werner Daehn) as an imbecile.  But what you will like about the movie are the stories of the academy cadets.  Their reasons for supporting the Confederate side are told to Confederate Commander John C. Breckinridge (played quite well by Jason Isaac).  

The battle scene while interesting to see unfold was difficult to follow along as the various commanders play "chess" against each other with the various pieces of infantry and cavalry.  Scenes of the hill with explosions did nothing to engross you as it was difficult to tell what was going despite being told what was going on.  Having the boys run across the field or even just marching across the field felt forced and unreal.  Not so much that they were essentially children on the battlefield, but that they felt out of place both emotionally and visually.

Despite  the faults with the movie, I still enjoy the movie enough to recommend watching it at least once on rental or Netflix when it eventually comes out.  The leads including the charismatic Luke Benward as John Wise and Max Lloyd-Jones as Sam Atwill.  The latter's character playful romantic chemistry with the female lead softens the otherwise somber tone of the war with the highest number of American casualties.  Not so much to be distracting or nauseating.


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