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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 14 April 2017
The full director's cut of a terrific Ang Lee film set around the time of the American Civil War, bleakly illustrating the divided loyalties of friends and families. Not a great time or place to live out your life which always threatens to be be brutish, nasty, and short. But there's plenty and humour and camraderie here too, and Lee depicts the violence for what a civil war illustrates more than most other warfare – it's just all so pointless and pathetic (in the true sense of the word). Vivid and gripping, this isn't a film that will have you glancing at your watch.
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Set firmly in the border fighting in Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War this is the sort of film that gets called lyrical but you may find slow. There's no faulting its period feel with the two parties (we ride with the South in this one) engaging in an extended form of Border Reiving. This means not only featuring the famous raid on Lawrence by Quantrill but also the grubby existence of the guerrillas through the winter hiding out in a wood and earth shelter. Running through the killing and burning is a soap opera story line to remind us of the real impact of war and the realities of life on what was still something of a frontier.
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on 31 March 2017
I like Westerns, very much ! Consider myself an expert.
However I found this one , not the best.Rather complicated & disappointing, despite watching it many times !
Do not recommend.
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on 7 September 2017
Good
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on 2 April 2010
Ang Lee is a great director and he has now leant his considerable talent to making a gem of a film about the American Civil War that has both depth and superb acting, which concerns an area of the Civil War that is not so wellknown as the major campaigns.

The craftmanship of this film is a credit to the cinema industry and even if you are not interseted in the American civil War, i recommend it to all those who appreciate superb acting, cinematography, characterisation and storyline. It is a DVD that you will enjoy time after time.
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Ride With the Devil is an intelligent film that follows more the way a great novel would, rather than a shoot'em'up blockbuster. That means total attention to detail, realistic dialogue and characterisation that makes one understand these people who are on the run for their lives.

We've all known that Ang Lee could direct, for most that would start with his 'Sense & Sensibility', which shocked an awful lot of people, for a Taiwanese to turn in such a great film, his first film In English and about that elitist of film genres - the English period drama. For some of us others, who've tried to check out his earlier stuff, there's his excellent 'The Wedding Banquet'. I've yet to find a region 2 copy of his 'Eat Drink, Man Woman', though, unfortunately.

After 'Ride With...' many many more found his favour with 'The Ice Storm' and then legions more with 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Anyways, 'Ride With the Devil' will always find more favour with the Sunday evening older population than the popcorn brigade as the film goes at its own pace, not ours. It's not hard to keep up with the measured pace but does require some concentration. For those that do can be rewarded with a textured story of depth, that is also beautifully filmed and well acted. There are no special effects, CGI or tricks of any kind. A rousing score by Mychael Danna adds musical dynamism.

Old fashioned?, well, yes, but this is history and that in the hands of Ang Lee does not mean boring. An underrated film.
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on 14 December 2006
Outsanding movie that will linger on in the mind long after the final scenes. Vivid brutal portrayal of Civil war and how it steels men souls and compels them to do terrible things in the name of cause. Maguire is excellent, he portrays a farmers son who along with some friends conduct a clandestine war on behalf of the Confederacy. In the course of the movie he loses close friends, becomes disillusioned with war and violence and in the process becomes a man. Some of the imagery is breath taking, the acting excellent, surley one of the greatest Civil war movies ever made and a beautiful love story to boot. No idle sentimenet just a cracking movie that continues to delight on more viewings. Movies dont get much better than this.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 18 January 2013
I don`t know how Ang Lee does it. Crouching Tiger...Lust, Caution...Brokeback Mountain...Sense And Sensibility...The Ice Storm... just five of his films, all of them stunning pieces of cinema, each one completely different from the other.
Much as I revere the first two on that list, Ride With The Devil might be his supreme masterpiece so far, a lengthy film (though never outstaying its welcome) of the American Civil War, with a motley band of young people caught up in it, some on the `wrong` side, or on no particular side at all.
The film brings home to the viewer what a messy, dangerous and painful time it must have been, with whole families wiped out, their homes razed to the ground, but what the film eloquently shows too is how it wasn`t simply a case of "Unionist good, Confederate bad", in a story involving mostly southerners on the periphery of the war, never knowing when the next attack from the North is going to arrive, and having to deal with the firebrands in their own midst, none more unpredictable than the gaunt, psychopathic character played, brilliantly, by Englishman Jonathan Rhys Meyers (odd but inspired casting).
All the cast work wonders. Tobey Maguire - an actor I`ve found all too resistible at times - does his best work here, while singer Jewel is subtle and touching as a teenage war widow whose favours are bestowed on more than one of the peripatetic band of men. She surprised me the first time I saw this film, and she still does. A natural, soulful and even witty performance.
Skeet Ulrich, James Cavaziel and Simon Baker are all just fine, and our own Tom Wilkinson has a brief role as one of the many patriarchs who take the men in and give them bed and board.
As the enigmatic slave Holt, who rides with the band, Jeffrey Wright is stunning. This is a performance that should have been nominated at least (the film was all but ignored on release, which is something of a tragedy; one hopes as many people as possible are discovering it on DVD). His final scene is beautifully acted, and, finally free, one longs for him to be successful in finding his ma...
America looks ravishing, the scenes of violence are necessarily realistic and bloody, while the domestic interludes meld with the outdoor scenes seamlessly, giving this great film the rare feeling of real lives being lived in a real place, a real landscape.
Ang Lee surpassed himself with this one.
Do see it.
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on 16 April 2017
An excellent film.
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on 29 November 2004
If you want a war film of the black hawk down genre, then give this a miss. It's message will probably pass you by just as it surely did with the negative reviewer below. Highlighting the amputation scene as "the best bit" says it all. Its a protrayal of civil war played out at it lowest level, with neighbour fighting against neighbour and how that ultimatly affects peoples perceptions, loyalties and relationships. Excellent acting and a truly plausible scenario sensitivley portrayed.
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