- Franklin J. Schaffner
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, February 03, 2004
The biographic picture genre (a.k.a. biopic) wasn’t exactly my favorite not long ago. I mean, as all movies, if it was good I liked it, but not especially for belonging to this genre. However, lately I’ve grown more and more interested in biopics, to the point of being fascinated by them. I’m just amazed by the capacity these pictures have (not all of them, of course, but the good ones) to tell the story of one person in such way that it’s not boring regardless of the protagonist’s occupation or lifestyle, yet nothing important is missing. Of course, I couldn’t miss Patton, the film considered by many the landmark of biopics: Was it rewarding! I wouldn’t even dare to doubt the critics who call this the best biographic movie of all time, though I wouldn’t know for there are so many I have yet to watch… However, it definitely is the best I’ve seen, by far.
This film manages to tell the story of this brilliant man in such an absorbing way, that it makes us root for him though it presents his brutality in full form, and doesn’t even try to hide his weaknesses and obsessions. Plus, it gives enough weigh to war (an obligatory backdrop for a man obsessed with it) without going too far, keeping this from being a “war movie” though it happens entirely during a time of war. Instead, the script is filled with wit and wisdom, two virtues of its main character, who was always prepared to speak an inspiring speech whatever the situation was. This creates many immortal vignettes (namely the opening speech, with the American flag as a background) that make the movie a constant pleasure.
Such achievement is, first of all, owed to screenwriters Edmund H. North and Francis Ford Coppola, whose extensive research translated into a heartfelt adaptation that’s simply priceless. The execution by director Schaffner is flawless, and the performances are out-of-this-world: George C. Scott in the role of his life as Patton, and Karl Malden as his friend who usually disagreed with him, General Omar N. Bradley. The rest of the cast is great too.
Amazing work was done technically as well, and the music by Jerry Goldsmith is unforgettable.
“There’s only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.”
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