Hart's War (2002) - (DVD)

Starring Bruce Willis et al

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R 55


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Fourth generation war hero Col. William McNamara is imprisoned in a brutal German POW camp. Still, as the camp's highest-ranking American officer, he commands his fellow inmates, keeping a sense of honor alive in a place where honor is easy to destroy, all under the dangerous, ever-watchful eye of SS Major Wilhelm Visser. Never giving up the fight to win the war, McNamara is silently planning, waiting for his moment to strike back at the enemy. A murder in the camp gives him the chance to set a risky plan in motion. With a court martial to keep Visser and the Germans distracted, McNamara orchestrates a cunning scheme to escape and destroy a nearby munitions plant, enlisting the unwitting help of young Lt. Tommy Hart. Together with his men, McNamara uses a hero's resolve to carry out his mission, ultimately forced to weigh the value of his life against the good of his country.
13 LVP
Number of Discs
TV System
South Africa
  1. 2
  1. Gregory Hoblit
Hart's War (2002) - (DVD)
  1. Bruce Willis
  2. Colin Farrell
  3. Terence Howard
Running Time
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Steve, . 27 March 2003

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

HART'S WAR is an intriguing courtroom drama set within the confines of a prisoner-of-war camp towards the end of World War II. Director Gregory Hoblit uses the same low-key and methodical approach that he applied even more successfully in FREQUENCY. He makes the most of a good cast, including Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard, by having them all slightly underplay their roles. But a relative unknown, Marcel Iures, who plays the Nazi camp commandant, ends up stealing the show. (If you can't remember where you've seen him before, it was probably in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE or THE PEACEMAKER.)

The story starts when Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Farrell) is captured while on a supposedly safe mission driving a higher ranking officer around in a jeep. Hart, a second-year law student from Yale, is assigned cushy jobs because his father is a senator. After a brutal interrogation, in which he may or may not have revealed certain military secrets, Hart is sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in which Colonel William McNamara (Willis) is the top ranking American officer. McNamara, a graduate of West Point and a fourth generation soldier, is itching to get back into the thick of combat, but it looks like he is destined to rot in the camp until the war is basically over.

Although the camp is nothing like the one in "Hogan's Heroes," it isn't quite as harsh as one suspects it would have been in reality. The commandant is certainly an unusual character. A graduate of Yale and a lover of "Negro jazz," he is absolutely delighted when someone is killed and McNamara insists on a full-blown military tribunal, complete with days full of evidentiary proceedings. Gleefully, he tells McNamara that it will be "like in your American movies." And, it is.

The movie begins to come apart as it reaches its conclusion. Several actions, major and minor, aren't credible. If you're flexible enough about suspending disbelief, however, few of these flaws will matter. The well-timed message of the movie, about the meaning of honor, is certainly one that resonates.

HART'S WAR runs 2:03. It is rated R for "some strong war violence and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Region details

DVD Region 2

Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.

R 55

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