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"THE FOUR FEATHERS"
(2002) (Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Heavy Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Moderate None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After being labeled a coward for resigning his commission on the eve of battle, a former British soldier sets out for the Sudan in an effort to save his friends and redeem his self-dignity.
PLOT:
It's 1884 and Harry Feversham (HEATH LEDGER), Jack Durrance (WES BENTLEY), William Trench (MICHAEL SHEEN), Tom Willoughby (RUPERT PENRY-JONES) and Edward Castelton (KRIS MARSHALL) are all officers in an elite regiment of the British military.

When an army of rebels attacks a British outpost in Khartoum, the group learns that they'll be sent off to the Sudan within the week. While the others are gung-ho about their opportunity for combat, Harry is more reserved, and that's not only due to the recent announcement of his engagement to Ethne (KATE HUDSON), a young woman of class whose father also served in the military.

After some soul searching, Harry decides to resign his commission, an action that leads to William, Tom, Edward and eventually Ethne sending him four white feathers, the symbol of cowardice. Jack holds out, not believing his friend to be that, but even Harry's father disowns him.

Time passes and the regiment arrives in the Sudan where rebels attack them. Realizing he can't stand by without helping them, and fearing that his legacy will be that of a coward, Harry sets off on a secret mission to rescue his friends. As time passes, Harry grows out both his hair and beard in an effort to fit in with the locals, and is eventually teamed with Abou Fatma (DJIMON HOUNSOU), a lone warrior who's taken it upon himself to aid him.

As the attacks on the British forces grow worse, Harry does what he can to help and rescue his former comrades.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of someone in the cast or of epic action/adventure films might, although this picture seems most attractive to older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense battle sequences, disturbing images, violence and some sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HEATH LEDGER plays a late 19th century British officer who resigns his commission due to not wanting to go to war. After being labeled a coward, however, he secretly heads off to the battle where he shows great courage and self-sacrifice in his effort to save his friends and reclaim his self-dignity. He kills several people in battle.
  • WES BENTLEY plays his best friend and fellow soldier who won't accept that Harry is a coward. After Harry's long absence, he eventually becomes involved with Harry's ex-fiancée.
  • KATE HUDSON plays Harry's fiancée who brands him a coward for resigning and eventually becomes involved with Jack, although she still has feelings for Harry.
  • DJIMON HOUNSOU plays a solitary warrior who befriends and aids Harry in his quest. He kills several people in battle.
  • MICHAEL SHEEN, KRIS MARSHALL and RUPERT PENRY-JONES play other officers who similarly brand Harry as a coward for abandoning them and their regiment on the eve of war.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this dramatic epic that's been rated PG-13. Violence consists of various battle-related conflicts where many people are wounded or killed by gunfire, bayonets, swords or hand to hand combat, while another person's head is bashed by a large rock (just off-screen).

    Other non-lethal violence is also present (punching, whipping, etc.). Some of that violence has rather bloody results, and such scenes and others (such as that of hanged people, wild dogs around dead bodies, etc.) may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    A man and woman are partially seen having sex (a head and shoulders shot with movement, sounds and facial expressions), a woman is offered as a sexual partner with a man (but that doesn't occur), while some men's bare butts are seen in nonsexual situations.

    Various characters have bad attitudes, while some drink and/or smoke. Profanity consists of a few religious and colorful phrases. Some tense family material is also present in the form of a father disowning his son.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during a campfire scene.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Harry and others drink from a flask.
  • Harry, Jack and Ethne have champagne, while others have the same at a reception. Later, various soldiers serenade Harry and Ethne while holding bottles or glasses of champagne.
  • Soldiers have wine in front of them with a meal.
  • Various soldiers drink, including Jack and Harry.
  • A comment is made about spirits and bars.
  • Jack, William, Edward and Tom all drink.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • An officer talks about the pints of stout he's going to order when he gets out of prison.
  • Harry and Jack have drinks, and Jack pours more.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A rugby player has some blood from his mouth, while Jack later has a large bruise around his eye.
  • Harry has some blood on his head after being hit there.
  • Lost in the desert and thirsty/hungry, Harry cuts into his camel's neck and puts his mouth to the wound from which he tries to drink some blood (some blood runs down its neck to the ground before the camel wanders off).
  • We see a murder victim whose neck is bloody.
  • We see a dead soldier with some blood on his chest.
  • We see many more dead bodies, some of which are bloody, and there appears to be a severed head near bodies in the desert (seen from a distance).
  • Jack has some blood on his nose.
  • A man has some blood on him during a fight.
  • A man's face is blackened and a bit bloody after his gun backfires in his face.
  • Trench has some blood on his nose.
  • We see many bodies in a mass grave.
  • Harry has some blood from his mouth after being hit repeatedly.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some could view Harry as being a coward for resigning upon learning of his regiment being sent to war, while others could view his friends and Ethne as having bad attitudes for calling him a coward and sending him the white feathers of disgrace.
  • Depending on one's viewpoint, either the local rebels or the British forces in the Sudan could have bad attitudes for their actions or involvement. The British do look upon the locals as savages/heathens.
  • Some sort of caravan leader repeatedly whips a woman under his control (for her commenting about him spitting out water - which he does onto a local's face) until Harry steps in and stops him.
  • British soldiers don't believe Abou's warnings about the British fort falling into enemy hands and then proceed to whip him.
  • A prison "warden" has bad attitudes toward his prisoners.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers.
  • We hear a gunshot and then see a soldier fall to the ground. Another person is shot and falls to the ground (from a sniper, with no blood). Other soldiers then chase after and shoot at the sniper. After catching and cornering the sniper, Jack aims his pistol at the man who won't put his rifle down and then loads a bullet into it. As a result, Jack shoots the man dead at the last second.
  • Lost in the desert and thirsty/hungry, Harry cuts into his camel's neck and puts his mouth to the wound from which he tries to drink some blood (the blood runs down its neck to the ground before the camel wanders off).
  • We see hungry wild dogs around many dead bodies out in the desert.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles with bayonets/Pistols/Canons/Swords: Used to attack, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bloody" (adjective), "Shut up," "What in God's name are they doing?" and "Idiot" (in subtitles).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A sudden gunshot might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 uses of "For God's sakes" and 1 use each of "God" and "God forsaken" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see rugby players in the locker room after a match, with some having just towels around them. We then see a very brief shot of several of their bare butts.
  • Harry and Ethne sensuously/passionately kiss.
  • A classic painting shows a bare-breasted woman.
  • A comment is made about brothels.
  • A belly dancer shows cleavage and a bare belly.
  • A local man tells Harry about how the British soldiers pay him well for the women he supplies them.
  • After Harry saves a local woman from a caravan leader who was whipping her, that man gives the woman some money and states that she'll now thank Harry (meaning sex, but that doesn't occur).
  • Harry sees that woman writhing about on the ground and we then see a man on top of her (in a head and shoulders shot) with movement and sounds, but no nudity.
  • We see a great deal of Abou's bare butt in his loin-cloth type outfit.
  • SMOKING
  • Jack smokes several times, while various miscellaneous characters also smoke (cigars and cigarettes).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Ethne's father gave his life for their country.
  • After Harry resigns his commission, his father won't speak to him and states that he doesn't know him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Serving in the armed forces of any country.
  • What constitutes cowardice.
  • The British empire of the 19th century.
  • Harry states that he didn't want to join the army and only did so because of his father.
  • The portrayal of the British as very ethnocentric and superior in regards to third world nations.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There's some standard rugby violence in a match, as well as players purposefully punching, elbowing or striking others.
  • When Willoughby states that Harry is a disgrace and coward for resigning, Jack pushes him backwards and then has to be pulled away.
  • We hear a gunshot and then see a soldier fall to the ground. Another person is shot and falls to the ground (from a sniper, with no blood). Other soldiers then chase after and shoot at the sniper. After catching and cornering the sniper, Jack aims his pistol at the man who won't put his rifle down and then loads a bullet into it. As a result, Jack shoots the man dead at the last second. Various kids then throw rocks at the British soldiers who retreat.
  • Some sort of caravan leader repeatedly whips a woman under his control (for her commenting about him spitting out water) until Harry steps in and stops him.
  • That woman later hits that caravan man on the head with a rock (apparently killing him, but we don't see the impact). A person then hits Harry on the head, knocking him out, but is stopped before killing him.
  • Lost in the desert and thirsty/hungry, Harry cuts into his camel's neck and puts his mouth to the wound from which he tries to drink some blood (the blood runs down its neck to the ground before the camel wanders off).
  • A man whips Abou to make him work harder.
  • An out of control canon rolls down a hill and runs into a man (but we don't the extent of his injuries).
  • We see a murder victim whose neck is bloody.
  • We see a hanged British soldier and then see more as a soldier drags off Harry. We then see more dead soldiers, some of them bloody.
  • We see dogs attacking many dead bodies out in the desert.
  • British soldiers don't believe Abou's warnings about the British fort falling into enemy hands and then proceed to whip him (after Abou backhands one of them who was pushing him down onto a body).
  • British forces repeatedly fire upon men approaching on camelback, resulting in all of them being shot dead.
  • A small regiment of British soldiers hear and then see a large number of opposing forces approaching them in the desert. Arranging themselves into a square, they fire upon many of the approaching men, hitting and killing many of them. The enemy then fires upon them, and several British are hit and wounded or killed (no blood). More shooting follows (including that of British canons) with more injuries or deaths.
  • Many enemy forces suddenly emerge from the sand and attack the British cavalry, slicing them and/or their horses with swords (no blood). Hand to hand combat ensues, with more people being wounded or killed.
  • A British officer stabs an enemy soldier with his bayonet.
  • Many more people are shot and wounded or killed (no blood).
  • A man's gun backfires, burning his face and blinding him.
  • Harry kills various enemy soldiers with his sword.
  • We see two men be hanged.
  • Some men throw Harry into some prison bars.
  • A man punches Harry.
  • A man tries to escape from prison, but he's shot dead (seen from a distance).
  • Prisoners struggle for food and the ruler of the place kicks Harry in the gut.
  • Some men appear to be dead after purposefully drinking poison (but we later learn that they're not).
  • Prison guards fire at Abou and some men he's rescued.
  • Harry fires a shot that hits and knocks a guard from his ride.
  • Guards hit Abou while Harry tries to get away from a prison ruler. That ruler then grabs Harry by the hair and throws him down a sand dune.
  • Abou shoots two men dead.
  • A man hits Harry in the face and kicks him in the gut. He then throws him down into the sand. The ruler then tries to suffocate Harry in the sand and then hits him several more times in the gut.
  • Harry head-butts a man and then runs and jumps on him, eventually stabbing and killing him with a sharp animal bone.



  • Reviewed September 10, 2002 / Posted September 20, 2002

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