THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL
Starring: Jason Clarke, Kiefer Sutherland, Jake Lacy, Monica Raymund, Lewis Pullman, Tom Riley, Jay Duplass, Elizabeth Anweis, Gabe Kessler, and Lance Reddick
Director: William Friedkin
Though not flashy, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial is a thoroughly engaging courtroom drama. Presented like a single-room stage play, it’s content to simply let its actors do what they do best: act. It asks interesting questions about military rank structure, the uniform code of military justice, and the ramifications of decisions made by those in command only through the various testimonies, which allows viewers to draw their own conclusions about the case at hand. Given that it was directed by the late William Friedkin, it’s no surprise that this stripped-down version of A Few Good Men is old school movie-making at its finest.
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial is an exceptionally written courtroom drama that deftly explores the unspoken vulnerabilities of men serving in the line of duty. The film’s compelling script is enriched by captivating performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, and Lance Reddick. Visually, the film employs a calculated, restrained style, dedicating its cinematic language solely to highlighting the multitude of impressive performances on screen. This unpretentious approach is a shining testament to director William Friedkin’s confidence as a storyteller. Court-Martial is a powerful meditation on honour and responsibility that makes for a memorable send-off for both Reddick and Friedkin.
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial is the latest adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny (1952). Despite its abrupt start (and confusing libel with slander at one point), this latest rendition proves that a massive budget filled with expensive visual effects and eccentric camerawork isn’t necessary to make an altogether satisfying and quality production. The script is dialogue rich, featuring a functional style that is 12 Angry Men meets A Few Good Men and a refreshingly accurate and believable portrayal of everyday military shenanigans. Trust me, you won’t regret sitting down to watch this little hidden gem.
This film was reviewed by Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2023 Venice International Film Festival.