Brutal and honest, The Patriot certainly is a rousing celebration of American independence, but the movie is more valuable as a rumination on vengeance and
violence. When Mel Gibson’s pacifist farmer forms a militia against the British to avenge an attack on his family, far more than a Rambo revenge fantasy follows. Instead, The Patriot goes to great lengths – even shattering a few summer-movie conventions – to show what seeking an eye for an eye can cost. If the film doesn’t completely follow through with this theme at the end, at least the crowd-pleasing finale is smartly sobered by all that has come before. From director Roland Emmerich.