|Table of Reviews|
Chevalier – Review
Chevalier – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 47 minutes
George de Bologne Saint-Georges took his illegitimate son, Joseph, from Joseph’s enslaved mother, Nanon, and brought Joseph to a Jesuit boarding school in Angoulême. The headmaster took one look at Joseph and thought Joseph didn’t belong until George told Joseph to share his gift. Joseph, age 7, stood up and started to play his violin. The headmaster accepted Joseph into the school, and George left him there.
Twelve years later, Joseph battled Alexandre Picard, a fencing master, after Alexandre made derogatory comments about Joseph’s mulatto background. Joseph beat Alexandre with a publicly divided audience watching. Queen Marie Antoinette stood up and named Joseph an officer of the king’s bodyguard and a chevalier.
Joseph attended plays and operas by the queen’s side while composing music for years. During a party, Joseph relays his ambitions to the queen. He wants to be the director of the Paris Opera. Marie Antoinette believes it’s a lofty goal for a man of his color. He would have to compose an extraordinary opera to become the director. Singer Marie-Madeleine Guimard overhears Joseph’s ambition and pulls him aside for a dance. She implies that she has tremendous influence over the queen and the committee. She can put Joseph in their favor if he sleeps with her. Joseph turns down her advances, and Marie-Josephine’s singing voice pulls him away. Joseph and Marie-Josephine, the wife of Marc René, talk about her voice, the opera, and his talents. Her cousin, Madam de Genlis, pulls Marie-Josephine away to make connections.
Later, Joseph meets with Madam de Genlis to produce his opera, but she’s unsure he can pull it off. She wrote a new play, Ernestine, but it’s different from her other works. No one will take it seriously. Joseph agrees to do it, but he wants Marie-Josephine to be the singer. Madam de Genlis warns Joseph that he has to convince Marc René to let his wife sing before he can approach Marie-Josephine. Marc-René quickly rejects Joseph’s offer because he believes the stage will make his wife a common harlot. However, Marie-Josephine comes to the opera house and decides to sing because Marc-René will be away for a year. Then Joseph gets bad and good news in the same letter. His father died and left Joseph nothing because he was illegitimate. However, his mother is free and will come to France to live with Joseph. Joseph is a man with the world at his feet and talent in a bow. However, Ancien Régime will take it all away because he is not one of them, merely a tourist.
This piece of reclaimed history has something for everyone. It starts with drama at the opera after Joseph interrupts Mozart as Mozart takes audience requests. This prelude to the revolution has bold music, stunning costumes, and meticulous detail to social etiquette. Viewers will watch Joseph navigate a tightrope of customs and rituals in French society. He understands that marriage is not an option for him. Joseph will lose his title by marrying a woman of color. However, he can’t marry within his class because it’s illegal. However, Nanon reminds Joseph that his title doesn’t guarantee safety. Something Joseph forgot with his climb to the top. By pushing Joseph out, they make him a spear in the revolution. If you are not an opera fan, this film has something for you too. And the conclusion explains how Joseph’s history faded away until now.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
I assure you know the piece – Mozart
You must be excellent. Always excellent – George
My son was born with music in his heart. Just like his mother – Nanon
You might find the argument compelling – Louis
Once, I was a man of France. Now I am only a negro – Joseph, Chevalier
He was beautiful – Marie-Josephine
Remove this man – Marie Antoinette
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant – Review
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant – Budget of $55 million – 2 hours and 3 minutes
Master Sergeant John Kinley lost his last interpreter after a checkpoint bombing and returned to base to select a new one. John learns that Ahmed is the best but has a problem with authority. John picks Ahmed. Ahmed and John keep each other at arm’s length but learn to trust the other’s instincts. Ahmed spots a traitor in John’s group, and he saves the team from an ambush.
John’s team gets intel about an Afghan IED manufacturing station. John, Ahmed, and the platoon fight the guards but come under heavy fire. Only John and Ahmed survive and escape. However, John’s injuries leave him with immense pain, a concussion, and unable to walk. Ahmed knows he can’t take their truck or drive on the roads because the Taliban will be looking for them. He has to get John to safety 100 klicks away through rugged terrain.
John wakes up in a hospital with papers to return home to his family. After a few weeks, Sergeant Declan O’Brady comes to John’s home to check on John’s progress. He tells John that Ahmed, Ahmed’s wife, Basira, and their three-month-old baby had to flee and hide underground. The Taliban added Ahmed to their top 10 list and have a hefty price on his head. Ahmed and his family face execution if they can’t get Special Immigrant Visas and a flight out. John makes calls for weeks but to no avail. He realizes phone calls aren’t enough. John must return to a warzone to save the man who risked everything to rescue him.
This movie is a collection of stories from interpreters who helped American troops while risking their lives and the lives of their families. They worked with troops to ensure their country would progress and escape the Taliban’s regime. America promised these brave interpreters and employees visas for their sacrifice. However, political and government red tape left many behind to suffer, run, and die. However, American soldiers never forgot them. And refuse to abandon them. The action can be intense and cause flashbacks if you have war-related PTSD. The combat sequences are gritty, heart-pounding, and graphic. This movie is a call to action that these troops will make sure America keeps its promise: No One Left Behind.
Organization Helping in the Fight:
- The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- No One Left Behind
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
I need the money, sir – Ahmed
Well, it’s Sergeant. Not Sir – John
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