The Wargamer

23 June 2017

Misc. Review: Field of Lost Shoes

Jean Marciniak reviews this Civil War movie

Published on 6 NOV 2014 7:30am by Jean Marciniak
  1. american civil war, north america, background / research material, english

[Ed] Something a bit different today, a movie review. However, before you all get worried it is a movie relating to the American Civil War and a military theme – although not exclusively as that wouldn’t sell to the general public. This is a bit of an experiment, so we’d be delighted to hear if you, our readers, think doing this sort of piece occasionally is a good thing or not. 

 

I recently stopped by the local theater to watch “Field of Lost Shoes”. The movie is based on the 1864 Battle of New Market, where cadets from the Virginia Military Institute took to the field of battle to decide the fate of The Shenandoah Valley. The battle took place in The Valley and involved the armies of Confederate General John Breckenridge and Union General Franz Sigel.                 

The battle of New Market was part of General Ulysses S. Grant's grand 1864 campaign to put as much pressure on the Confederacy as possible. In the east Grant accompanied General Meade's Army of the Potomac as they confronted General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. In the West General Sherman went toe to toe with J.E. Johnston and in the Shenandoah Valley Franz Sigel was tasked with eliminating the Confederacy's bread basket. 

 

The movie starts out introducing you to the main characters in the movie. Surprisingly some of the roles were played by some veteran actors. Tom Skerritt is in the movie and plays General Grant. Jason Issac, who played Travis in the movie The Patriot, is in this movie and plays General John Breckinridge. Kieth David, known for movies like Platoon, Armageddon, and Dead Presidents, plays Old Judge in the movie. Lastly, David Arquette, known for the movie Scream and the TV series Friends, is in the film playing the role of Col. Henry DuPont. So some memorable faces. However the main characters of the film, The Cadets of The Virginia Military Institute are brand new faces, but they do a heck of a job. 

In the beginning of the film you see Lincoln and General Grant meeting for the first time. I wasn't too impressed by this part of the film. I don't think the actor playing Lincoln (Michael Krebbs) fit the role of Lincoln. Nor did I think Skerritt fit the role of Grant. I felt they lacked the imposing nature these characters of history contained. Perhaps my view is tainted by having seen the movie Lincoln, a movie which I believe was by far the best portrayal of Lincoln ever made. Daniel Day Lewis who played Lincoln fitted the role PERFECTLY. He added so much depth and dimension to the character. I was also impressed with the performance of Jared Harris who played General Grant. Both actors fit their roles to a T. Wish they were involved in this movie. 

On the Confederate side I believe Jason Issac's performance was very good. I didn't study much about General Breckenridge, but I felt Issac's performance was good enough for the movie. Now onto the main characters who played the Cadets of Virginia Military Institute: 

Luke Benward plays John Wise

Max Llyod-Jones plays Sam Atwill

Nolan Gould plays Sir Rat

Josh Zuckerman plays Moses Ezekiel

Sean Marquette plays Benjamin "Duck" Colonna

And 

Courtney Gains plays Capt. Chinook

 

All these actors played their roles well. They weren't forgettable so the actors did their jobs. The ones I was impressed with were Luke Benward and Max Llyod-Jones. They were the principal characters that I followed in the movie. The ones that at the end I was most interested in seeing what became of them. 

The battle scenes in the movie were okay. They were not Gettysburg or Gods and Generalquality. In fact many of the scenes look like they were lifted straight from the annual Civil War Reenactments, which isn't to say is a bad thing. It was just noticeable. Don't go to see this movie just for the battle scenes. You won't get the same experience as with Gettysburg. 

Overall I really enjoyed this movie. It was worth paying $10 to see. I plan to pick it up on iTunes when it's released to buy.