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Ride With the Devil (Criterion Collection)

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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
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.35:1
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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