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Case Number 11285

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Battle Of The Brave

Sony // 2004 // 143 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // April 27th, 2007

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger wonders if thirty $1 millon indie flicks are worth one $30 million stinker.

The Charge

Rise. Unite. Fight.

Opening Statement

All aspiring filmmakers should see Battle of The Brave. If watching this grotesque waste of $30 million doesn't boil your blood and compel you to make a better movie (on a hundredth of the budget for bonus points), then filmmaking is not for you.

Facts of the Case

Marie-Loup Carignan (Noémie Godin-Vigneau) is an old school hottie in 18th Century Quebec. While England and France war vaguely for Canada, Marie-Loup makes potions with her native friends, laughs with her daughter France (Juliette Gosselin, Histoire de famille), and spits in the eye of local scum lord Intendant Le Bigot (Vincent Perez). Every man who sees Marie-Loup sports wood, while every woman flutters with lesbian longings. This venerable list includes trapper François le Gardeur (David La Haye), ambitious captain Xavier Maillard (Sébastien Huberdeau), scummy priest Le curé Thomas Blondeau (Gérard Depardieu), young native gal Acoona (Bianca Gervais), and the Intendant's lady friend, Angélique de Roquebrune (Irène Jacob, The Double Life of Veronique). While old ladies cast the evil eye at Marie-Loup and French and British nobles debate the fate of Quebec, this host of minor characters lies, cheats, fights, and kills to get the upper hand in the Battle of Marie-Loup's Bloomers.

The Evidence

[Inner sanctum of Sony headquarters]

Studio Exec Baht M. Line
Director Jean Beaudin
Writer Pierre Billon
Guest writer Juliette Rho-Mance

Thank you for coming. We've been given 30 million dollars and 30 cast members to make a historical-romance-epic-war film with heavy moral overtones to court the Oscar vote. Think Last of the Mohicans meets The Scarlet Letter. You all know Jean…

No we don't.

Yeah, I don't even know why I'm here! Billon's the writer!

…so let's get started. Billon, love ya, but you can't reach the female segment. Juliette is going to assist. Jean, you know we've got a tight schedule because Colm Meaney has to get back to that Trek reunion. Anyway, this thing needs twists. We're gonna do a creative exercise: musical scripts. When the timer dings, whoever the pointer is pointing to needs to come up with a plot twist. Just give us your best stuff. Okay, Jean, start us off. Remember, people, this room contains spoilers, so if you don't want to know how Battle of the Brave turns out, better leave now. (chuckles all around)

1779. Quebec. Swirling mists. An old, guilt-ridden priest is on his death bed. A beautiful woman walks in…


Okay, that's me. Umm…he's clutching a love letter. Has it memorized. He reads it and a tear streaks down the woman's… France. What? France. Her name is France. Oh, right. Where was I? France cries. She thinks back 20 years ago to her beautiful mother Marie-Loup, laughing in the sun with their native friend, Acoona.


Finally! Okay, so the captain of the guard Xavier comes in and grabs Marie-Loup by the scruff of the neck. He kicks her to the ground. Then his guardsmen come in with these really nasty leers on their faces cause, you know, she's hot. And then…


…she and Acoona fight them off, laughing with glee while France looks on from an apple cart. We'll need perky music for that. Right, better get Patrick Doyle. A handsome trapper, François le Gardeur, watches her with a rapturous look on his face.


But so does the depraved lord of the land, Intendant Le Bigot. He tells his mistress to bring Marie-Loup to his bedchamber, cause, you know, she's really hot.


What, me? We need establishment. Why are these people toughing it out on the frontier? Let's establish. Who are some famous colonial figures? Voltaire? Yes! Good. William Pitt the Younger. Who? Trust me. Okay. Think French, people. This is Canada! Okay, um…General James Wolfe? (together) Yes! Umm, guys, Wolfe was British And let's throw an American slant in there. Ben Franklin?Hey, Colm would dig that. Good, so these guys are at a big table somewhere in Europe talking about the fate of the colony. Better get fact checking to make sure they were all alive at the same time…this is a historical epic, right? (winks all around)


Oh good, let's get back to basics. General Wolfe gets a crazed look in his eye. "We'll raze the settlements to the ground and leave a wake of destruction! The colony shall yield!" Really get the blood pumping. This dude is gonna whoop some ass. We'll need some dramatic music. Doyle has bass drums, right?


Suddenly, General Wolfe gets a tear in his eye as he thinks about all of the lives he will ruin. Choked with emotion, he excuses himself from the table. Fade back to the colony. Cue perky music. François startles Marie-Loup with a rosy apple and a cute bow. She tries not to laugh. France and Acoona giggle as they watch.


Suddenly an exploding mortar bursts overhead as the British move in for the slaughter! France cries while Acoona spits up a river of blood and dies with a gurgle. Screaming villagers are everywhere! We'll let Doyle recycle the General's theme for that one.


The attack was over almost as soon as it began. Marie-Loup and France stand on the mountain top at sunset and cry for their fallen friend, Acoona. They go back into town to visit Le curé Thomas Blondeau, the kindly priest who watches out for them.


Father Blondeau leers at Marie-Loup because she's really hot. He snaps his fingers. Xavier commands his men to exile François. "Okay, preacher, he's gone! Let's do this thang, yo!" "I now pronounce you husband and wife! I'm sorry, Marie-Loup, but you must honor your husband." So Xavier kicks France out into the barn. He stands behind Marie-Loup and gropes her breasts just before… PG-13, people, keep it clean enough for the MPAA folks.

{DING!} Oh, thank God!

Me again? So let's zoom away from the groping breasts and instead focus on Marie-Loup's lust-infused face. We'll need some fire light and soft-focus filters.

{DING!} Oh, thank God!

Marie-Loup pictures the face of François while Xavier's clumsy hands fondle her. She allows herself a secret smile.


Just then, off the coast, the British Fleet swoops in from the high seas with cannons blazing! Explosions rock the coast! No budget for a battle scene anymore. We blew that with costuming and makeup for all of the famous people. Drat! Be sure to put an epic battle scene on the DVD cover, though, cause we're pitching this thing as a war flick. Right. Okay. The ships turn around and go down the coast. François returns! He and Xavier have a blazing sword duel! "You're dead meat, François!"


François wins, but spares the life of his onetime friend. He turns around to look for Marie-Loup…


And steps into a bear trap! Blood spurts from his shredded arteries. Xavier bashes his head in with a branch and then charges home. He beats everyone down!


What's our runtime now? Two hours, 3 minutes depending on how many bass drum beats Doyle throws into the soundtrack. Could be up to 2:08. Good, let's do a twenty-minute wrap up with everyone's stories mixed in. Hope you didn't get too attached to any of these characters! (chuckles all around)

(Louis de Ernsted steps in) You want me to film what?

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Though it is right and good to criticize everything about Battle of Marie-Loup's Bloomers—er, Battle of The Brave—I stop short at criticizing the cast. The list of wasted talent is nearly as long as the cast list itself, but Irène Jacob, Colm Meaney, and Tim Roth must top the list. Irène Jacob almost crafts a character out of her criminally underwritten part, while Meaney and Roth don't even get fighting chances.

As for the cast we do see, Noémie Godin-Vigneau and David La Haye wring blood from their turnips. Bianca Gervais gives off heat and feral intensity while Juliette Gosselin charms the bloomers off everyone. (Wait, that's a sick image…I meant she's really good.) Sébastien Huberdeau is hammy, Gérard Depardieu is bloated and varicose, and the rest of the cast are insignificant trifles hanging in the wind like beef jerky with SAG cards. Yet none of this blame falls on the shoulders of these poor (but well-paid) actors.

No, the blame is squarely on the shoulders of director Jean Beaudin (who wouldn't know subtlety if it bit him in the ass), writer Pierre Billon (whose idea of subtlety is saying "merci" before biting you in the ass) and the editors, who found no scene good enough for the cutting room floor.

Some of the shots are visually arresting, even as you try to force the bile back down your throat from the saccharine, choke-inducing pulp of the plot. Sony's transfer is mediocre. There is more grain than expected and more edge enhancement than is typical of recent releases, with just-acceptable contrast and detail. The colors are not accurate, per se, but they are properly saturated and there are no major flaws in the print. Doyle's perplexing, redundant soundtrack comes through cleanly, but dialogue is often indecipherable (especially the English dialogue spoken in French accents to suggest French people.) There are no extras.

Closing Statement

Ending on a positive note is a disservice to film criticism, but I'll point out that Battle of The Brave is a historically inaccurate, emotionally crude, unengaging, disjointed, wretchedly scored, pretentious waste of $30 million and 143 minutes that features charismatic actors and an occassional breathtaking shot of Canada.

The Verdict

Guilty of sedition and other big words.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 72
Audio: 74
Extras: 0
Acting: 80
Story: 40
Judgment: 49

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
Running Time: 143 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Drama
• Romance

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb
• Official Site

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