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The Student

A serious, sharply mounted drama that gets more engrossing as it moves along.

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Free Fire

A "Reservoir Dogs" knockoff 25 years after "Reservoir Dogs."

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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How the South won the Civil War

From Arlie Davis:

I was surprised to see this statement in your review of "Outside the Law": "Imagine the feelings of Americans about a film where the Confederacy is viewed as heroic and the Union as murderous invaders. It all depends on which side you think is the right one."

Nearly every movie that I have seen that involves the US Civil War *has* portrayed the Union as murderous invaders, and the Confederacy as heroic defenders of home and hearth. I cannot think of a single significant movie that shows the Union as a force of liberation, re-union, and forgiveness. Which it was.

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The Union won the military and legal battle. But the Confederacy won the emotional battle.

Consider "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." The baddest bad guy is a vicious, torturing, murdering Union officer. Or "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." It's *not* a political story, but instead is a very lyrical and personal study of the value of life, at its very end. The protagonist is clearly a middle-class Everyman who was fending off the invading North, and is hanged for it. Countless, uncountable movies show similar perspectives.

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