September 27, 2002

Scattered to the Wind

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With exquisite cinematography and a slew of promising young actors, The Four Feathers had so much potential to be one of the best movies of the year. The director, Shekhar Kapur, best known for the movie Elizabeth, tried once again to create a movie that combined the mystique of England with rich storytelling. Unfortunately, like its subject, the British Empire, the film turned out to be large in scale but empty in substance. Kapur tried to hard to make this an epic film and instead ended up with over-dramatized characters and a fractured plot.

The movie opens at the dawn of the Sudanese war between the British and the Mahdi. When four aspiring soldiers, Willoughby (Rupert Penryjones), Castleton (Kris Marshall), Trench (Michael Sheen) and Lt. Jack Durrance (Wes Bentley), hear the news, they are ecstatic that they finally get to put their battle skills to the test. However, their spirits are soon dampened when they find out that their close and newly engaged friend, Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger), one of the best soldiers in the regiment, suddenly quit the army.

Angry and feeling betrayed, Willoughby, Castelton, and Trench decide to mail Harry three white feathers to symbolize his cowardice. Like most of the movie, it is unclear how Jack reacted to his best friend’s decision. While he defends Harry adamantly, he does not hesitate to begin courting his friend’s fianc