Ride With the Devil (Criterion Collection)

Directed By: Ang Lee Starring: Tobey Maguire Jeffrey Wright

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Product Overview

With this new director's cut, Ang Lee reconstructs his original vision for his Civil War epic, Ride with the Devil, an intimate, harrowing look at a country torn in half, told from a daringly unorthodox perspective. Set in 1862, during the Kansas-Missouri border war, the film stars Tobey Maguire as Jake and Skeet Ulrich as his friend Jack Bull; they join the Confederate-sympathizing Bushwhackers after Jack's father is killed by marauding members of the abolitionist Jayhawkers. But Ride with the Devil is also the story of their unusual ally Holt (an astonishing Jeffrey Wright), who's fighting for the South despite being a former slave. A rumination on identity and loyalty, both political and personal, Ride with the Devil is a provocative challenge to preconceptions about America's bloodiest conflict.


Studio Criterion Collection
SKU 213887534
UPC 715515055116
UPC 14 00715515055116
Format DVD
Release Date 4/27/2010
Based On A Novel
Civil War
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Director Ang Lee follows up the critically acclaimed THE ICE STORM with this look at the bloody, intense conflict between the pro-Confederate Bushwackers and the pro-Union Jayhawkers in Missouri during the Civil War. Pitting neighbor against neighbor, the war in the frontier state tested personal loyalties and often created strange alliances. The film, based on Daniel Woodrell's book WOE TO LIVE ON, follows the conflict through the eyes of two outsiders: a German immigrant's son (Tobey Maguire) and a free black man (Jeffrey Wright), both of whom fight for the Bushwhackers even though they are looked down upon by their fellow guerrillas. The acting is strong all around, the setting realistically grim and absorbing, and Frederick Elmes's photography is, as always, top-notch. Pop singer Jewel appears onscreen for the first time, playing a plucky Southern woman. A nuanced examination of the bonds of obligation, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL anticipates Lee's high-flying CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, both in theme and in pulse-pounding action. The film contains many standout action sequences, including a historically accurate re-creation of William Quantrill's infamous raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
Plot Summary
Summary RIDE WITH THE DEVIL is straightforward look at a group of Civil War pro-Southern Bushwackers--operating in the relative no-man's-land of Kansas and Missouri--who carry out guerrilla attacks on the Union army and its sympathizers. Ang Lee's film follows these marginalized outsiders as they pursue their fervent, ultimately doomed cause with an intense and bloodthirsty commitment.
Memorable Quotes
Quote "You want my bacon?"--Jack Bull (Skeet Ulrich) to Daniel Holt (Jeffrey Wright)
Quote "I'll always know your rump from a mule now."--Jack Bull to Miss Evans (Jewel)
Quote "Before they built that church they built that schoolhouse. They rounded every pup into that schoolhouse because they fancied that everyone should think and talk the same freethinking way they do, with no regard to station, custom, propriety. And that is why they will win. Because they believe everyone should live and think just like them. And we shall lose because we don't care one way or another how they live. We just worry about ourselves."--Mr. Evans (Zach Grenier) to Jake (Tobey Maguire) and Jack
Quote "I felt something that day I never felt...I felt free."--Holt to Jake
Variety "...[The film's] widescreen images have a sweeping, sometimes desolate beauty..." p.43
Premiere "...[A] striking, brave picture....Maguire is thrilling as Roedel, whose passage to manhood is faithfully chronicled by Schamus and Lee..." 11/??/1999 p.33
Sight and Sound "...A texture of fine-grained observation that brings history to life on the molecular level..." 12/??/1999 p.34-56
Total Film "...Worthy and beautifully crafted..." 06/01/2000 p.99
New York Times "...Visually arresting....[Maguire gives a] sensitive, understated performance..." 11/24/1999 p.E1
Los Angeles Times "...Maguire shows an increased maturity that suits him well..." 11/24/1999 p.C6
Chicago Sun-Times "...The technical and acting credits are first rate..." 12/17/1999 p.40
A.V. Club "[T]he dialogue gives RIDE WITH THE DEVIL its own offbeat personailty....Lee and Schamus superbly illustrate the confusion of the times..." -- Grade: A- 04/28/2010
Ang Lee
Tobey Maguire
Jeffrey Wright
Cast & Crew
Tom Wilkinson - Star
Simon Baker-Denny - Star
Tobey Maguire - Star
Jeffrey Wright - Star
Jonathan Rhys-Myers - Star
Jonathan Brandis - Star
Jim Caviezel - Star
Margo Martindale - Star
Skeet Ulrich - Star
Jewel - Star
John Ales - Star
Stephen Mailer - Star
Zach Grenier - Star
Tom Guiry - Star
Matthew Faber - Star
Daniel Woodrell - Source Writer
James Schamus - Screenwriter
Frederick Elmes - Director of Photography
Marit Allen - Costume Designer
Ted Hope - Producer
Mychael Danna - Composer
Mark Friedberg - Production Designer
Robert F. Colesberry - Producer
James Schamus - Producer
Tim Squyres - Editor
Ang Lee - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1999
UPC 00715515055116
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 148 minutes
Color Color
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.35:1
ReviewSource Film.com
Review Scenery has played a major role in Ang Lee's English-language films. In 1995's Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet's love lives blossomed within the stone walls of English cottages and lush meadows, while 1997's The Ice Storm transformed the wintry 1970s American suburbia into a metaphor for bleak family dysfunction...In his new film, Ride With the Devil, it's the Midwestern frontier, which gets used in the grandiose, sweeping manner of Dances With Wolves but lacks many layers. Based on Daniel Woodrell's 1987 novel Woe to Live On, the story takes place in the midst of the Civil War. An unofficial army in the South, called the Bushwhackers, raid Union soldiers and supporters in back roads and countryside towns along the Kansas/Missouri border. The long-tressed, bearded young men run headfirst into northern trouble wherever they can find it, whooping and shooting like a grown-up version of Cowboys and Indians...The innocent Maguire, who worked with Lee in The Ice Storm and played the idealistic dreamer in Pleasantville, time travels to a similar role as the quiet hero who must step forward and grow up quickly. Maguire's character is not a fighter by nature, and some of his peace-inclined actions are deemed traitorous, particularly by a trigger-happy scoundrel played by Jonathan Rhys Myers (Velvet Goldmine), who spends half the film jeering at Jake like a sly fox ready to pounce...The brightest performance in Ride With the Devil is that of Wright (Basquiat), who becomes friend and confidant to Jake and seeks to save his enslaved family. He doesn't speak the entire first half of the movie, but everything from the resigned slump in his shoulders to his gentle tip of the hat makes him one of the better-developed characters. Unfortunately, it's not enough. Without enough support, Wright can't balance the film on his shoulders alone, and the fine scenery has little choice but to fade into the background.
Reviewer Peter Brunette
ReviewRating 8
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly The film is beautifully shot and filled with fine performances.
Stephen Hunter, Washington Post In its quiet way, Ride With the Devil is terrific.

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