Off The Shelf Reviews: “Patton”


Tiger Media Network

Well since it’s the fourth of July, I’ve decided to review something patriotic, and what’s more American than a good ol’ fashion war movie? And the film I’ve decided to go with is the 1970 film, “Patton.” Truth be told, this is the first time I’ve seen the film. It was pretty much a blind buy. I was at Game On buying “Kelly’s Heroes,” a film I had recently rented on Amazon Prime and really enjoyed, so I bought it on DVD for less than the digital rental price, and right next to it on the shelf was “Patton.” I didn’t know much about the film or its namesake. I simply knew that Patton was one of the US’s main generals during WWII, so I gave the film a shot.

General Patton and General Bradley during Operation Cobra.

The film follows General George Patton through his time during WWII. A loud mouthed man obsessed with battle who believes he is the reincarnation of warriors who fought in many historical battles. He’s a master tactician, however his mouth and his pride often gets him in trouble, and he has to learn to control them if he wants to see this war all the way through.

Because the movie is a biographical film, it’s a little harder to be critical of the story since it’s history, can’t really change the story too much. However I feel that one of the film’s main issues is its pacing. Despite the film’s runtime of 170 minutes, it still feels like it rushes through much of the war. One moment Patton has just landed in Africa and has seen his first battle of the war, the next moment they’re planning the invasion of Sicily, then suddenly it’s D-Day and Patton is forced to sit the invasion out, and what feels like five seconds later he’s being asked to help out in Operation Cobra, then we’re at the Battle of the Bulge, and then the next scene the Nazis have surrendered. A number of the major events get brushed over and it can make trying to follow the war pretty tough. I kind of wish we got some scenes linking certain events together, even a newsreel of the D-Day landing might have helped stitch certain scenes together better. 

So where does that run time go? Well much of it of course goes to General Patton himself. One of the things that I like about the film is that they don’t really hype Patton up too much. Sure he’s the protagonist and all, but the film doesn’t shy away from showing him doing something terrible or saying something crass. The real straight man of the film is General Omar Bradley, who’s far more level headed and while he respects Patton’s battle prowess, he despises his orneriness and ego. These two play off each other well and help to keep many of the slower scenes interesting. Patton himself is acted quite well and the performance really sells it. There are many great scenes of him shouting at the soldier’s under his command and calmly but rudely addressing the other generals. As the title suggests, General Patton is the star of the show here. He’s one of those characters that you should hate, but there’s something about him that makes him fun, almost charming, and I think this is most well shown off near the end when a Russian general asks to have a toast with Patton, but it doesn’t go quite as expected.

Since it’s a war movie, you expect there to be some battles and “Patton” does not disappoint. The film has a number of large scale tank and infantry battles all throughout. Some of these battles are fought over fairly lengthy scenes, while a few are fairly brief, but all of them deliver on the explosive and exciting action. Honestly my only real complaint is that all the tanks in the films are post WWII era, and the Germans are ironically driving M47 Pattons with black and white crosses slapped on the sides. It can be a bit distracting if you know your tanks, but I’m sure most people won’t know or care.

Overall, “Patton” is a solid war movie. I think your enjoyment of the film is definitely determined by how much you end up liking this Patton guy, or at least enjoy him being on screen. While the battles can be exciting, they are spread far throughout the film. Ultimately this film feels like it’s the type to primarily appeal to those interested in US history and or WWII history. I give this film seven “‘Godzilla 2000’ references” out of ten.

Connor Keating is an old-school movie fan, particularly Japanese monster movies, and is an avid DVD collector.