Monday, April 12, 2010

Movie review: The Crossing

Thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I just finished watching The Crossing, a dramatization of Washington's crossing of the Delaware River and attack on the Hessian troops at Trenton during the early months of the Revolutionary War.  Originally produced for television in 1999, The Crossing is a solid production.  While certainly not a movie at the same level as, for example, 1993's Gettysburg (Ted Turner's t.v. production about the epic Civil War battle), the movie was nicely paced and had a strong touch of realism to it. 

The hand-to-hand combat scenes were intense, so the movie may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13 or so.  The overall historical accuracy is very well done.  And the portrayal of Washington by the movie's star, Jeff Daniels, was extremely well done.  Daniel's portrayal of Washington demonstrated not only the general's remarkable leadership qualities, but his human qualities as well.  Daniels showed insecurity at times, defensiveness at times, grumpiness at times, and he portrayed Washington's well-known field humor quite well. The multifaceted character of Washington really shines through.

One point that the movie made plain was how young the leaders of the Revolution were.  We often think of the Founders according to their later work at the Constitutional Convention and in the politics of the early Republic, when these men were seasoned politicians and actors upon the national stage.  But during the Revolution, most of these men (with the exception of Franklin) were by modern standards young men in their 20's.  Washington himself was only 44 years old in 1776 -- something that puts the zap on my head now that I turned 40 this year!

The Crossing isn't a great movie, but it is a very good one, and it is a very accurate retelling on a critical early victory in our country's struggle for liberty.  It is well worth watching, and I think it would be an excellent movie to watch for educational purposes.  That is, so long at the viewers are at least over the age of 13.


Anonymous said...

I remember enjoying this movie and even though I thought Daniels was miscast, he did well.

Anonymous said...

I thought Daineiles an odd choice at first. Then I read that he was the same age as Washington at the time 43 or 44 and He was the exact height 6'3" It is almost a "Back to the future" thing to see our Founding Fathers as Founding Gen Xrs They were young. If they hadn't been too young to know it couldn't be done. They may have never tried.

Anonymous said...

For me this is indeed a 'great' film. Especially extraordinary for a television movie. A&E used to produce some incredible films and this is one of the very best. Sadly the current channel/company bears no resemblance to A&E back then. As for this film, one can comment on all the historical aspects, etc, which in fact are extremely accurate, but what makes this special is that it possesses that quality so difficult, if not impossible, to describe. I sometimes call if 'factor x' because it is intangible, but it gives a film (or any art form that possesses it) a magic that goes beyond technical factors. In a word, 'inspired'. This film certainly is inspired, and inspiring!