Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A bloody chapter of Civil War history in 1861, with friends fighting friends in vicious guerrilla warfare along the Kansas/Missouri border. This is the story of a 16-year-old boy, Jake (Maguire) who joins the First Kansas Irregulars.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. The best movie I've seen this year.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Lee has made a brutal but sensitively observed film about the fringes of the Civil War.
  3. In this, Lee's most ambitious and successful work yet, his celebrated gift for psychological shading and complexity is on proud display.
  4. Dramatically skimpy, even though the movie stirs together themes of love, sex, death and war.
  5. 70
    Though Lee's movie is dripping with action and beautiful details, it's aimless and, eventually, tedious.
  6. Doesn't offer much texture or depth of character.
  7. 30
    The plot is largely a series of excuses for one-liners expertly delivered by Maguire, making all the hatred, maiming, and killing seem like digressions.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Mar 19, 2014
    9
    I think this movie was very under-rated when it was released. But it's actually terrific, much more interesting and provocative than the ponderous Gettysburg. The dialogue is very fresh and reflects 19th century cadences in the same way True Grit does.

    There are very good performances from the leads, especially from the great Jeffrey Wright (not to mention Jewel, who is rather touching). In addition the smaller roles are filled with terrific actors like Tom Wilkerson, Margo Martindale, Joathan Rhy Meyers, Jim Caviziel, and Simon Baker.
    Expand
  2. Dec 29, 2013
    8
    This is a minor masterpiece and one of the best examples of the 'Southern' (or proto-Western) sub genre. The performance are uniformly strong and Ang Lee trusts the actors to convey largely unspoken motivations. The action is intended to be upsetting, which limited the audience. It is well worth watching as a companion to thematically related films, like OUTLAW JOSEY WALES and DJANGO UNCHAINED. Expand
  3. DaveC.
    Jan 4, 2006
    3
    Laughable and not in the least bit convincing. Some of the most poorly staged battles I've seen and Maguire is miscast. Ang Lee's worst.

See all 4 User Reviews

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