An Underrated Heath Ledger Movie Hits Netflix Next Month
Roland Emmerich may have slightly diversified his output in recent years after helming Shakespearean conspiracy thriller Anonymous and coming-of-age drama Stonewall, but after they both bombed at the box office he quickly moved back into familiar territory. Having gone full Michael Bay with Midway as his Pearl Harbor, the Master of Disaster is currently shooting Moonfall, which sounds very much in his wheelhouse as a $150 million sci-fi blockbuster with a plot driven by the idea of the moon falling out of orbit.
Of course, Emmerich has ventured into different genres in the past, and even tackled a historical epic in between Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow with The Patriot, although the sweeping war film was hardly concerned with things like staying true to the facts or any sort of accuracy. That being said, Mel Gibson gives a reliably grizzled performance as quiet family man Benjamin Martin, who forms a militia to take on the evil British invaders, with Heath Ledger also featuring as his son, Corporal Gabriel Martin.
The $110 million effort did solid if unspectacular business after pulling in over $215 million at the box office back in the summer of 2000, and proved that Emmerich was just as capable of staging action sequences set on the battlefield that don’t require him to rope in the visual effects team to destroy the most famous landmarks on the planet.
The Patriot boasts one of the more unsung performances of Gibson’s career, too, as he deftly and completely convincingly switches track from peaceful widower to unstoppable killing machine, while Jason Isaacs is on top form as the sneering pantomime villain William Tavington and Ledger does excellent work as well. And starting next month, Netflix subscribers will be able to decide if they’re brave enough to tackle the 164-minute behemoth when it hits the platform on February 1st.