peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2011 03 12 TheGreatSantini

The Great Santini

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This is Duvall chanelling his far more oblivious Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore from Apocalypse Now, bringing war to peacetime. Acting-wise he ends up more like The Apostle, looking a lot like Woody Harrelson in The Messenger.

The movie fails to convince by trying to do too much, covering too many bases with insufficient depth: race relations in the south; aging father supplanted by son on the cusp of manhood; army brats, a smart-arse daughter; and so forth. I would have liked to see the pilots improve/screw up under Santini — they didn't have much of a role at all, just an audience for a speech — or the director of the base get some comeuppance, or something.