Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed.
SET in 1884, a time when honour was everything, this sixth remake
of A.E.W. Mason's novel of the same name, directed by Shekar Kapur
(Elizabeth), provides a good, old-fashioned heroic adventure.
Harry (Heath Ledger) is one of the finest and most respected
British soldiers in the army, with a beautiful fiance, Ethne (Kate
Hudson), that is until being told his regiment is to go to Sudan
to fight the Mahdi revolt.
Harry is terrified at the prospect of war, and decides to leave
the army. He then finds himself ostracised from family, army friends
and the socially embarrassed Ethne.
Even best friend, Durrance (Wes Bentley), feels betrayed by
He is sent four feathers, a humiliating sign of cowardice, from
those closest to him, and with nothing to lose sets off for the
Sudan to confront his fears and return each feather.
While crossing the desert, Harry is befriended by Abou Fatma
(Djimon Hounsou), who suggests he will last longer if he looks
more Arabic and then regularly saves his life.
This loyal friendship between two very different characters provides
a stark contrast to the army friendships, whose loyalties lye
Harry's journey is long and perilous, but his determination
to help his old colleagues, and prove he is not a coward, drives
He becomes a slave to spy on the Madhi supporters, so he may
warn the British of any danger, but their prejudices prevent them
from being saved.
Whereas today, we question our military presence in other countries,
during the British Empire, it was assumed we had a right to be
The naivete of the soldiers heading off to war is very moving,
as we now know the horrors of conflict and what they were marching
Director of photography, Robert Richardson, is the reason not
to miss this version of The Four Feathers in the cinema.
Shots of the desert are breathtaking, while the battle scenes
are also wonderfully portrayed, depicting the stark isolation
the soldiers faced being massacred.
This, plus some powerful supporting performances, overshadows
the inexcusably dodgy English accents from some of the cast.