The story of the American Revolution against the British crown in 1776 was the subject of this 125-minute, $50 million epic that very few people wanted to watch.
Director Hugh Hudson placed his two central characters, Tom Dobb (Al Pacino) – the (supposedly) Scottish trapper – and Daisy McConnahay (Nastassja Kinski) – the young firebrand who abandons a comfortable home to join the rebels – against a constant background of collective action.
Hudson forever loses his principals in the noisy swirl of street protests, field hospitals, society parties and battle scenes.
There seem to be no more than ten shots in the whole film that contain less than three people, and the nearest thing to an intimate scene – an encounter between Tom and Daisy, three years into the war – has background action so busy it must consciously be intended to rob them of their privacy.
The result, sadly, is less a revolutionary fresco than a film that looks as though it has been shot by a second unit director: a series of big, big scenes, meticulously planned, fluently filmed, but lacking in focus – awe-inspiring but also somewhat numbing.
Sergeant Major Peasy
Jo Anna Lee
Lex van Delden