Sunday, November 23, 2008

Courage Under Fire

I watch a lot of movies but only occasionally find one I like well enough to recommend. This is one. It is one of those movies that when it ended, I didn't want to immediately do anything else. I wanted to just sit and watch the final credits play and come down from the emotional ride and contemplate what I had just watched. The movie is both heartbreaking and exhilarating.

The final scene of the movie has Colonel Serling standing before the headstone of Captain Walden in Arlington Cemetery. In the voice of Captain Walden, the letter she wrote to her parents to be read if she died in battle is recited. This may bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye.

Below is a synopsis of the story provided by the Blockbuster website.

A soldier discovers how elusive the truth can be in this first major film about America's role in the Gulf War. Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) was the commander of a unit during Operation Desert Storm who mistakenly ordered the destruction of what he believed to be an enemy tank, only to discover that it actually held U.S. soldiers, including a close friend. Since then, Serling has been an emotional wreck, drinking heavily and allowing his marriage to teeter on the brink of collapse. As a means of redeeming himself, Serling is given a new assignment by his superior, Gen. Hershberg (Michael Moriarty). Capt. Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) was a helicopter pilot who died in battle during the Iraqi conflict, and the White House has proposed that Walden be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Serling is asked to investigate Walden's actions on the field of battle, but he quickly discovers that no two stories about her are quite the same; Ilario (Matt Damon) says Walden acted heroically and sacrificed herself to save the others in her company, while Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillps) claims she was a coward who was attempting to surrender to enemy troops. Meanwhile, reporter Tony Gartner (Scott Glenn) is hounding Serling, trying to get the inside story on Walden and on Serling's own difficulties. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

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