Courage Under Fire (1996)

???????????????????????????????????????“Few of us are given the opportunity, even fewer the courage to sacrifice ourselves for the lives of our comrades. In daily life, even as in battle each one of us is mysteriously and irrevocably bound to our fellow man. And yet, it is only in death that the power of this bond is finally tested and proven. And who among us really knows how he might respond when the moment comes?” – The President

Number of Times Seen – At least 5 times (In theater in 1996, Video, DVD, 31 Jul 2000 and 5 Dec 2013)

Brief Synopsis – An Army Colonel must interview the crew of a downed helicopter during the Gulf War in order to decide whether the deceased pilot was heroicly deserving of a medal or not.

My Take on it – Familiar readers know what I think of Denzel Washington and this movie is no exception to that rule.  He plays here his typical character with the same amount of emotion as he does every where else.

Thankfully, he isn’t really the main focus of this movie.

The focus is the ever changing story during an investigation of what happened during the crucial hours between a helicopter being shot down and rescue of the remaining crew.

This movie uses the idea first developed by Akira Kurosawa in his breakthrough movie Rashomon (1950) which tells the same story numerous times from different perspectives and in each view, the story changes, leaving us to decide what really happened.

True to human nature, everyone has a different perspective and perception of every situation that we are involved in.  Movies like this show how confusing those situations can sometimes be and how difficult it can be to really find the truth.

The narrative here is very engaging and is done very well.

Matt Damon (in one of his first roles) impressed Steven Spielberg so much here that based on this performance, he was chosen the play the pivotal role of James Ryan in Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Bottom Line – Great movie about perspective and perception.  Done in Rashomon (1950) style. Engaging plot and storyline. Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy


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