- Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation (MGM)
- Release Date: Jun 14, 2002
- Starring: Adam Beach, Nicolas Cage
- Summary: In 1942, several hundred Navajo Americans were recruited as Marines and trained to use their language as code. In John Woo's Windtalkers, Marine Joe Enders (Cage) is assigned to protect Ben Yahzee (Beach) -- a Navajo Code Talker, the Marines' new secret weapon. (MGM)
- Director: John Woo
- Genre(s): Action, History, Romance, War
- More Details and Credits »
Well matched both to the material and each other, Cage and Beach capture Windtalkers' true struggle, the fight to hold on to values like honor, friendship, and tenderness in an environment that demands otherwise. This is as much a Woo trademark as the carefully orchestrated gunplay.
While I don't always have the stomach for Woo's viscera or the heart for his pure, angelic heroes and impure, diabolical villains, I found myself responding to the context and subtext of Windtalkers while closing my eyes through what one might call its text. It's two-thirds of a great film.
We can only view Windtalkers with the same shaken detachment that characterizes Mr. Cage's Joe Enders, wishing that the codetalkers' real story, a little known and fascinating chunk of American history, had been given its true dramatic import.
The strength of Windtalkers is in its occasional, all-too-short respites from battle, when Enders is struggling with his demons and Yahzee is trying to understand his aloofness.
The movie deals superficially with Native American pride and racism in the ranks, but it's hardly about the codetalkers at all: Neither Woo nor the screenwriting team of Joe Batteer and John Rice seem to appreciate the bitter irony in a Native American soldier protecting his land by serving the very government that took most of it from him in the first place.
The Navajos must have sent much more crucial messages at much higher levels during the war, but you'd never know it from this movie. Windtalkers is practically all action and no talk.