THE INFORMATION ON: `Ride With the Devil'

What Is It?

Taiwan-born director Ang Lee (whose previous work includes Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm) changes tack again with this epic tale, set against a backdrop of the American Civil War. Based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell, the film follows a group of Southern bushwhackers holed up in the woods, on a mission to undermine Union forces.

Who's In It?

The action centres on the coming-of-age of Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire) and his best friend, Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich) who throw in their lot with galloping guerrillas after their lives are torn apart by soldiers from the north.

What They Say About It

"... a complex and engrossing movie, but I've got a feeling that satisfaction with it will not be universal," Anthony Quinn, The Independent.

"Ang Lee displays eclat and sweep in his portrayal of the dishevelled southern forces and their long rearguard action against the forces of history, but, by finding such squeaky-clean heroes to represent them, he is having his cake and eating it. The result is an unsatisfying, flavourless movie," Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.

"Ultimately seduced by the American desire for (national) redemption, his heroes invariably carve endings and conclusions John Wayne would be proud of. A truly original war film is compromised, even if some truly great acting (and film work) is not," James Christopher, The Times.

Where You Can See It

Ride With the Devil (15, 140 mins) is on general release

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