Movie: Glory

June 16, 2005

Glory is a classic film that should receive as much respect as other great war films, like Platoon and Saving Private Ryan. More in line with SPR than Platoon, Glory is about what men will do to achieve the unatainable. But like Platoon, it is also about the human spirit and how men cope with disaster and triumph together. From the demoralization of the men intially in the training camps, to the abuse of them as labourers, to the triumph of their initial success on the battlefield and the excitement they hold as they march out to the last battle of the film, the human spirit lives on in the 54th regiment of Massachusetts.

Glory takes place during the Civil War in the United States, and is based on the letters of the Colonel Robert Gould Shaw sent to his parents back home in Boston. Shaw has been given the task of the organizing and training of the Union’s first all-black regiment. There are many challenges to be had with this rough assortment of men, including the fact that one of the enlistees is a good friend of Shaw and the Major. The prejudice against the company is extremely high, but the men perservere with assistance of the Colonel. After a while, they are assigned their first task near the frontlines.

Once there, the morale drops again. Tensions grow stronger and a rift breaks out amongst the camp, with Denzel Washington’s and Morgan Freeman’s characters in the middle. Watching the camp bond together again is inspiring to keep our hopes alive. If these men risked their lives to fight for their freedom, as well as their ancestor’s freedom, living in the great racial division of America, we should be able to accomplish our small feats for the sake of our own lives.

I’ve read other reviews that say the battles are the weakest part of this film. They fail to raise our emotions and let us attach ourselves to the battle, they say. But the film is not about the battles. It’s about the men, the human spirit. Watching this grounds you in who you are as a person and makes you question some of your actions against others, your prejudices and your own personal arrogance. Who are we to put ourselves above others? We should embrace eachother as we belong to the same species.

Another recommended film.

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