A Soldier's Story

1984

Crime / Drama / Mystery / War

75
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 81%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 8,664

Synopsis


Downloaded times
September 26, 2020

Director

Cast

David Alan Grier as Corporal Cobb
Denzel Washington as Joe Miller
Patti LaBelle as Big Mary
William Allen Young as Private Henson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
926.88 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
101 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.68 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
101 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by slokes 8 / 10 / 10

Uncle Sam And Uncle Tom

The problem with a film like "A Soldier's Story" is that too many will skip it because it is one of those black social films. They expect a boring bitchy sermon. That's too bad, because they miss out on one of the best ensemble films of the 1980s, not to mention a tough mystery story that navigates deep psychological waters in delivering a message far less rosy and doctrinaire than you might expect. It is World War II, and just outside a Louisiana army base for "colored" troops, a black master sergeant is shot to death on a deserted road. Whites from the nearby town are suspected. Howard Rollins Jr. plays Capt. Davenport, a black lawyer sent by Washington to investigate. The expectation is he will ruffle no feathers and work instead at being what the base commander calls "a credit to your race." But Davenport quickly makes clear he isn't anyone's token, even if it means pressing white suspects or investigating the possibility that whites didn't kill Sgt. Waters at all. Today, you see the film and notice Denzel Washington has a major role as one of Sgt. Waters' men. But the star of the film is neither him nor Rollins, but Adolph Caesar as the doomed Sgt. Waters. "They still hate you!" he almost laughs as he is being murdered, and one of the many mysteries sorted out in the film is that Waters wasn't talking to the killer but himself. Waters is bent out of shape not only over white American attitudes towards blacks, but his own attitude about how a black person can be more acceptable in white society. He expresses admiration for Nazi Germany, noting that they have a commendably direct way at getting at the problem of racial purity. For him, the black race is held down by a certain type of southern black, "geechies" he calls them, who play to white stereotyping by not speaking correct English and so on. Caesar tackles Sgt. Waters as if his were a Shakespearean role, and in a way it is, Shylock crossed with Richard III, filtered through a multitude of American racial prisms, white on black, black on white, black on black. His every twitch and body shudder come over perfectly, especially when you watch a second time. Even in smaller moments, like when he's getting ready to beat the tar out of Denzel, and is joshing with the other non-coms, he never lets go of that glint in his eye or his hold on the viewer's jugular. Though Rollins and Washington are both very good in support, even better is Art Evans as Waters' sad flunky, Wilkie, who gives two contradictory depositions to Davenport and the deepest insight as to what made Waters tick. Dennis Lipscomb as Capt. Taylor is also fantastic, a white officer who tells Davenport frankly he doesn't want him investigating the murder because of the color of his skin. Taylor's not a bigot, mind, he just wants justice and fears a black officer won't be able to make an arrest in Louisiana. Taylor's more socially awkward than anything else, and scripter Charles Fuller, working from his great "A Soldier's Play," has a lot of fun with him and his exchanges with Davenport. When Davenport tells him of an especially cruel trick Waters played, Taylor refuses to believe it. "Colored people aren't that devious," he says, a nice line in that you discover Taylor's racism and his naive decency simultaneously. In his DVD commentary, director Norman Jewison doesn't mention his earlier "In The Still Of The Night," which is odd given the many parallels between the two films. Both are murder mysteries set in the American South with blacks and whites butting heads. Rollins even went on to appear in "Still Of The Night" the TV series. I don't see this film as a copy of that earlier one, but a variation on the same theme, and in many ways an improvement. Instead of noble Sidney Poitier, you have a deep raft of black acting talent representing a variety of different attitudes and moral shadings. Real stock is taken, too, of America's racial divide, how people can still feel American enough to want to die for their country even if it won't let them drink from the same water fountain. There's something heartbreaking about the scene where we see the black soldiers celebrating being sent off to combat, in the wake of what happened to WWI hero Sgt. Waters. Will they come back with memories of their own Cafe Napoleon?

Reviewed by llltdesq 9 / 10 / 10

Fascinating mystery with a great script and a fine ensemble cast make this a must-see

This is an excellent film, at it's heart a case study in human psychology, but also a mystery and an intriguing one at that. The cast, mostly unknowns at the time, is fantastic and contains many now-familiar faces, most notably Denzel Washington and David Alan Grier. Adolph Caesar was nominated for an Oscar and Howard Rollins, Jr. probably should have been. Another highlight (at least for me) are the songs sung by Larry Riley and Patte LaBelle. This is a gem of a film, one that is most highly recommended.

Reviewed by deelishous 9 / 10 / 10

Really really Good

Directed by Norman Jewison, A Soldier's Story is a gripping film that tells the story of an African-American captain and lawyer who is sent to the Deep South to investigate the murder of a sergeant. But the film does not just tell the story of the investigation; it also opens up a whole new state of affairs for the audience to see. Jewison shows the hard-core racism that was present during World War II. Racism is the central theme that surrounds the murderous plot. The movie takes place in 1944, on a black army base in Louisiana where the men eagerly wait to be sent to Europe to fight World War II. Captain Davenport is brought in from Washington D.C. to inspect the unexpected murder of Sergeant Waters. Captain Davenport tediously interviews each man who was under Waters' command. All men gives his story and about how their great or not so great encounters with the late Sergeant Waters. The movie constantly flashes back and forth between the past and present as the men tell their stories to Davenport, explicitly introducing the different attitudes and animosities towards Sergeant Waters. All the men that Davenport interviewed had a motive to kill. This film explores a variety of racial behaviors that African-American men had to face at that time. Not only does it show racism from whites to blacks but also from black to blacks. Jewison does not spare the audience's ears as every sort of racial slur is thrown at the men, with the cruelest racist words coming from the black Sergeant Waters. He gives us a scandalous taste of this unsympathetic prejudice and bigotry through-out the entire picture and then at the end, just like that, all the arguments, issues, and chauvinism between all the men on the base is solved. The men finally get to fight in the war, everyone is content, and saluting one another; as if none of the narrow-minded racist name-calling and bias misconceptions never happened. Jewison failed to give this movie a "real" ending. How can Jewison, a white man from Canada ever be able too see that something like this would never happen? How can an entire movie that is built on preconceptions and injustice have an ending with a white man giving a black man a hand up and saluting other white officers without any acknowledgement of the unfair treatment that was handed to him? Jewison did an acceptable job displaying life for a black man in 1944, searching for his own identity in a world of whites who believe they are superior; I just think that representing open racism as "OK" is not OK. However, the acting is superb. Denzel Washington in particular, did an exceptional job, playing Private Peterson, as he resisted Sergeant Waters and refused to be talked down. Even though he couldn't back all his talking and lost in a fist fight against Waters, he did admirably well as he refused to be disparaged by another black man with only a few stripes more than him. Adolph Caesar, who starred as Sergeant Waters, also did a delightful job portraying a hateful man who enjoyed putting black men away who made his race look bad. Although he was malicious and intolerable towards his all black troop, he became a character you'd love to hate. Because of his sharp wit, small stature and roughness, he gave A Soldier's Story a slight sense of mean humor. Moreover, he gives the audience a sense of black on black hate and opens up a new perspective of how blacks had to endure racism with-in their own culture. A Soldier's Story is highly recommendable. It's a type of movie that keeps it's audience captivated through-out the entire view and never gets dull. The film is unpredictable and comical but only to a certain extent. Addressing serious issues, there are times when A Soldier's Story draws the audience in to sympathize with the characters and feel their pain. However, a special appearance from Patti LaBelle will help ease that pain and standing up and shouting is the only option when she blows only like Patti LaBelle can.

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