Ride With the Devil

Ride With the Devil

4.3 13
Director: Ang Lee

Cast: Ang Lee, Skeet Ulrich, Tobey Maguire, Jewel

     
 

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A complex tale of uneasy alliances and hostilities along the Kansas/Missouri border during the Civil War, Ride with the Devil opens in 1862. The story concerns Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich), a proud son of the South ready to fight for the Confederate cause after his father is killed by Yankee troops. Chiles's friend, Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire), joins theSee more details below

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Overview

A complex tale of uneasy alliances and hostilities along the Kansas/Missouri border during the Civil War, Ride with the Devil opens in 1862. The story concerns Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich), a proud son of the South ready to fight for the Confederate cause after his father is killed by Yankee troops. Chiles's friend, Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire), joins the Bushwhackers, a group of renegade Southerners aligned with the Confederate Army, even though his family supports the Union cause - which sets him head-to-head with his father. The two young men, used to the slow pace and gracious lifestyle of the South's privileged class, become guerilla fighters and wander through the countryside together, encountering sudden, shocking and extreme acts of violence. Their comrades include valiant leader Black John (James Caviezel), paranoid madman Pitt (Jonathan Rhys Myers), gentleman George (Simon Baker), and Daniel (Jeffrey Wright), a laconic former slave who unexpectedly fighs for the south despite his race out of sheer loyalty to George - though the others regard him with suspicion. The Bushwhackers hide out in a shed near the home of Sue Lee Shelley (singer/songwriter/poet Jewel), a pregnant widow whose husband was killed three weeks after their marriage. Later, following a shocking and unexpected act of violence, a number of the men team up with the crazed Quantrill (John Ales) to stage an attack on an abolitionist stronghold, but Jake finds his moral conscience growing more acute, and takes the first steps toward romancing and starting a family with Sue Lee in what looks to be a very different post-Civil War future. Adapted from the novel Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell, Ride with the Devil was directed by Ang Lee, whose previous project was a very different look at America's past, the 1970s domestic drama The Ice Storm (1997).

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
After brilliantly recreating the 1970s in the The Ice Storm, director Ang Lee and writer/producer James Schamus delve deeper into American history with this violent, visually striking Civil War drama. Tobey Maguire stars as a young man who comes of age fighting for the South in the bloody guerilla war waged on the Missouri/Kansas border. Ride With The Devil sidesteps any overt politics, focusing instead on the vigilante ethos and male bonding of the freewheeling band of hotheaded state patriots known as "bushwhackers." As he begins to question the cause for which they are fighting, the ever-sensitive Maguire emerges as the group's conscience. Strong performances by Skeet Ulrich, Simon Baker, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and James Caviezel as brothers in arms play well against Maguire's boyish charm, and Jeffrey Wright smolders with quiet charisma as the sole black bushwhacker. Male energy abounds here, nicely offset by pop star Jewel in her screen debut. As the war widow who captures Ulrich's heart, the comely poet and singer bares more than her soul.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Ang Lee's Ride With the Devil is a morally complex Civil War Western with flashes of brilliance. Unlike Lee's subsequent film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the genius of this film is found not in the action sequences -- which are appropriately chaotic and bloody -- but in the moments of quiet drama, wherein the characters and their disparate motivations are discovered. This is a film, after all, in which the heroes are bushwhackers, murderous guerilla fighters for the Confederate cause. At its core, it's a film about two young men, Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire) and Daniel Holt (Jeffrey Wright), who fight out of loyalty to their aggrieved friends, and who discover what they truly believe in as they witness the ravages of war and the hopeless brutality of fighting for ideals that are already obsolete. Jake is a pensive young man whose German family is on the Union side, while Holt is a former slave whose freedom was bought by George Clyde (Simon Baker), the man he now fights beside. Lee, as usual, gets strong performances from his cast. The film drags occasionally, but is at its strongest in quiet moments: the hush that comes over the bushwhackers as Jake reads an intercepted letter from a Union soldier's mother, or the dinner table conversation between Jake, Jack Bull (Skeet Ulrich), and Mr. Evans (Zach Grenier), a Southern gentleman who calmly explains why the Confederacy will lose the war. The script, by Lee's frequent collaborator James Schamus, does an excellent job of contrasting the thoughtful openness of Holt, Jake, and Sue Lee (Jewel) -- a slave, a foreigner, and a woman who finds a way to see past their own oppression, poverty, and personal loss -- with the burned out, despairing rage of characters like Pitt Mackeson (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Black John (James Caviezel).

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/2010
UPC:
0715515055017
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:28:00
Sales rank:
2,754

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer of Ang Lee's director's cut, supervised and approved by Lee and director of photography Frederick Elmes; Two audio commentaries, one featuring Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus, and one featuring Elmes, sound designer Drew Kunin, and production designer Mark Friedberg; New video interview with star Jeffrey Wright; Plus: a booklet featuring essays by the critic Godfrey Cheshire and Edward E Leslie, author of the devil knows how to ride: the true story of William Clarke Quantrill and his confederate raiders

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Skeet Ulrich Jack Bull Chiles
Tobey Maguire Jake Roedel
Jewel Sue Lee Shelley
Jeffrey Wright Daniel Holt
Simon Baker George Clyde
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Pitt Mackeson
James Caviezel Black John
Tom Guiry Riley Crawford
Tom Wilkinson Orton Brown
Jonathan Brandis Cave Wyatt
Matthew Faber Turner Rawls
Stephen Mailer Babe Hudspeth
John Ales Quantrill
Zach Grenier Mr. Evans
Margo Martindale Wilma Brown
Mark Ruffalo Alf Bowden
Celia Weston Mrs.Clark

Technical Credits
Ang Lee Director
Marit Allen Costumes/Costume Designer
Steve Arnold Art Director
Anne Carey Associate Producer
Stephanie Carroll Set Decoration/Design
Robert F. Colesberry Producer
Mychael Danna Score Composer
Frederick Elmes Camera Operator
Mark Friedberg Production Designer
Ted Hope Producer
Robert Huberman Asst. Director
Avy Kaufman Casting
Drew Kunin Sound/Sound Designer
Steve Lauberth Set Decoration/Design
David Linde Executive Producer
James Schamus Producer,Screenwriter
Jonathan Scott Set Decoration/Design
Tim Squyres Editor
Alex Steyermark Musical Direction/Supervision
Philip Stockton Sound Editor

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