A grimly competent and stolid and earnest military courtroom drama.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
War is a film that tries to excel on several levels and falls flat on all of them.
Elvis Mitchell - New York Times
An earnest racial-issues picture that might have gotten respectful critical praise in a different era -- say, the '60s.
Mike Clark - USA Today
More or less self-destructs in a ridiculous last few minutes when it becomes a noble sacrifice-o-rama.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
You'll get the enjoyable basic minimum. But not a whit more.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
The movie gets muted and routine.
Justine Elias - Village Voice
Teetering toward preaching, the film says much about courage, honor, duty and sacrifice, traits common enough in many World War II stories.
Bruce Westbrook - Houston Chronicle
...a work of small pleasures that barely makes it under the wire intact.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
We're situated in that familiar showbiz intersection of Hollywood and Rhine.
Peter Rainer - New York Magazine
The movie worked for me right up to the final scene, and then it caved in.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Katzenbach's book collapses into phoniness at the end, and the movie -- which alters that ending -- is even phonier.
Michael Wilmington - Chicago Tribune
The cinematic equivalent of three-dimensional chess.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Reaches for more than it can handle, but it's well-acted and earnest in its intentions.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Gripping on impact, it provides plenty of material for long thoughts.
Susan Stark - Detroit News
An exciting, thoughtful and adrenaline-pumping war picture that is provocative and different.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Initially gripping, eventually cloying POW drama.
Jonathan Foreman - New York Post
Watching this film, what we feel isn't mainly suspense or excitement. The dominant feeling is something like nostalgia.
Jay Boyar - Orlando Sentinel
As an actor's showcase, Hart's War has much to recommend it, even if the top-billed Willis is not the most impressive player. As a story of dramatic enlightenment, the screenplay by Billy Ray and Terry George leaves something to be desired.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Hart's War, in trying to please everyone, delivers a doubly exasperating blend of liberal and conservative pandering, both a self-congratulatory acknowledgment of historical racism and an affirmation that American patriotism excuses all sins.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Put Bruce Willis and this bewildering World War II movie in front of the firing line.
Charles Taylor - Salon.com
This is one of those war movies that focuses on human interaction rather than battle and action sequences ... and it's all the stronger because of it.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A well-made, solidly acted drama that essentially eschews louder actions in favor of fighting words.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Director Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) is merely arranging cliches in new patterns until the surprise ending blows enough pro-military fervor up the audience's ass to make Colin Powell call a halt.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
[T]he film throws so many twists and surprises at us that it becomes unconvincing.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Big WWII drama about honor, courage and sacrifice.
Nell Minow - Common Sense Media
Mark Halverson - Sacramento News & Review
- Empire Magazine
Nationality, race and politics clash in unexpected ways in this well-directed and acted but extremely old-fashioned prison drama that recalls genre film sof the 1950s and 1960s.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
In the ever-increasing onslaught of war movies, it stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
This earnest WWII escape story throws in a courtroom drama, but to nobody's advantage.
Derek Adams - Time Out
- Film Threat
'Hart's War' is a perfect example of a film that remains anchored in mediocrity from beginning to end. It plods along like a chronic asthmatic, meandering to a conclusion that's both irritating and implausible.
Tom Grealis - RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
...Suitably gritty and intense...
John R. McEwen - Film Quips Online
It's hard to know whether or not to recommend this film because for every thing it does right there's at least one and occasionally two things it gets ever so wrong.
Chris Barsanti - Film Threat
Engaging thriller combines military movie genres and succeeds as more than the sum of its well-oiled parts.
James Rocchi - Netflix
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Jean Lowerison - San Diego Metropolitan
As old-fashioned as it can get, a throwback to cinema's Golden Age and a tribute to the flawed, guilty human beings we call heroes.
Margaret A. McGurk - Cincinnati Enquirer
As an American propagandistic attempt to market patriotism (or courage, or honor), it is arguably successful; by its own merits it is merely decent.
Rumsey Taylor - DVDFuture.com
The movie's surplus of male-fraternizing never conveys that these Americans are under imminent danger and stress.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
Hart's War is an absorbing courtroom drama that gives Farrell the chance to show off his star quality although the ending disappoints.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
It makes a few fundamental mistakes along the way--mostly due to Willis' star power--but it's still thoroughly entertaining
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Proves a servicable World War II drama that can't totally hide its contrivances, but it at least calls attention to a problem Hollywood too long has ignored.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
A perfectly respectable, perfectly inoffensive, easily forgettable film.
Shay Casey - Daily-Reviews
Starts out strongly before quickly losing its focus, point and purpose in a mess of mixed messages, over-blown drama and Bruce Willis with a scar.
Ryan Cracknell - Movie Views
A compact story told with focus and assurance.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Neither the film nor its characters break any new ground, but for most of its running time it is an intelligent and compelling prisoner-of-war story
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
A serious and absorbing drama with the old-fashioned notion of telling a story and taking the necessary time to do so.
Ian Waldron-Mantgani - UK Critic
...while it is an entertaining, well-plotted film, there's something missing that keeps it from reaching that higher plane.
Larry Carroll - Countingdown.com
Farrell ... thankfully manages to outshine the role and successfully plays the foil to Willis's world-weary colonel.
Laura Bushell - BBC
A noble project, a prison camp movie jam-packed with plot, intrigue and good actors.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Emily Blunt - Blunt Review
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
This is a well-written, well-acted and well-constructed film. Not a classic, but a worthy entry into the POW genre.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
The sight of the name Bruce Willis brings to mind images of a violent battlefield action picture, but the film has a lot more on its mind--maybe too much.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Those looking for a war movie would do best searching somewhere else.
Matt Easterbrook - Matt's Movie Reviews
... the film becomes too preachy and obvious in its patriotic and do-gooder intentions.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Brian Orndorf - Modamag.com
An intense, provocative drama that revels in challenging the established archetypes rather than exploiting them.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
an odd mish-mash, pursuing different ends at different times until, by the end of the film, we're not sure what it was about or how we should feel about what it's saying
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Few World War II movies have featured as complex and interesting a villain as Col. Werner Visser.
Bruce Feld - Film Journal International
Gary Brown - Houston Community Newspapers
A surprisingly good movie...
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
...it's not your typical war movie but I'm giving it thumbs down because I think its attempts to be different were quite frankly kind of ludicrous.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
The bright spots in this film are Farell's performance and that of Vicellous Shannon who is just riveting as the camp's commanding German officer.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
There's nothing particularly astonishing about this WWII prisoner-of-war drama.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
While the stoically delivered hokum of Hart's War is never fun, it's still a worthy addition to the growing canon of post-Saving Private Ryan tributes to the greatest generation.
Jason Anderson - eye WEEKLY
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Even as the story strains to accommodate a few implausible, last-second theatrics, it manages to sustain a tense, sober atmosphere.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
If you haven't seen the trailers and commercials, you'll likely find Hart's War a good waste of ten bucks.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Hart's War seems to want to be a character study, but apparently can't quite decide which character.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Hart's War is good, even daring, and has everything going for it but the crackerjack ending the story begs for.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
For maximum enjoyment, the viewer should be as clueless as to what is really going on as poor Hart.
Louis B. Hobson - Jam! Movies
Delivers on all fronts, with a cunning script, great acting, and subtle directing.
Max Messier - Filmcritic.com
If you're looking to go rah-rah America, these flawed characters won't convince you to put that plastic flag back on your car. Still, this film has some surprising heart.
- E! Online
[T]he film never really engages...
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Cynthia Fuchs - Philadelphia City Paper
It's a pleasure to finally see a film directed by Gregory Hoblit that really reflects the multiplane storytelling expertise he developed working on such television series as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue.
- Los Angeles Daily News
Unlike A Soldier's Story, which tackled the same theme within the confines of an engrossing, unpredictable story, too much of Hart's War feels like finger-wagging.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Hart's War contains a fatal structural flaw. A racially charged court-martial that takes up half the picture turns out to be a just a cover.
Carla Meyer - San Francisco Chronicle
[A] mediocre effort that doesn't really have anything new to say or explore, but is relatively easy enough to watch and should benefit from the current patriotic atmosphere in the country.
Jim Judy - Screen It!
A gripping and poignant movie about honor, duty and loss of innocence.
Tony Toscano - Talking Pictures (U.S.)
A solid and satisfying World War II drama that cleverly commingles the conventions of POW camp adventures and military-courtroom whodunits.
Joe Leydon - San Francisco Examiner
Director Gregory Hoblit seems to be trying to remake all of Stanley Kramer's 'message' pictures in one movie.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Handsomely shot by Alar Kivilo for rough textures under leaden skies, this is one of those unusual films that can be macho yet not mindless.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
Worse than just uneven; it leaves you not caring in the least about what is, essentially, an important part of history.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
A smart, complex drama.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The movie itself is far from disappointing, offering an original take on courtroom movies, a few nifty twists that are so crucial to the genre and another first-rate performance by top-billed star Bruce Willis.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
[S]turdy if uninspired...
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
[A]fter a pretty decent first hour, Hart's War becomes increasingly ludicrous, culminating with a cornball finale that will either leave you scratching your head or shaking it in disgust.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
...a sluggish courtroom potboiler about racism, murder and due process.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
...a modestly engaging film.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
...a run-of-the-mill courtroom drama that John Grisham could have tossed off between endorsing royalty checks.
Bill Pearis - Citysearch
Can good filmmaking make up for a scattered script?
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Boasts solid performances against a bricolage of ideas, of which the more interesting are underused and the less interesting are overused.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
If you can ignore Willis' vanity, Hart's War is worthwhile matinee or cable viewing. If you can't, then this is one tour of duty you shouldn't sign up for.
Tor Thorsen - Reel.com
So predictably sanctimonious it feels like it's been sitting on the shelf since the 1950's, when big-name, naively feel-good message movies were a dime a dozen.
Chuck Rudolph - Matinee Magazine
The WWII drama is well plotted, visually striking and filled with enjoyably complex characters who are never what they first appear.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
works on the whodunit level as its larger themes get lost in the murk of its own making
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
A solid film...but more conscientious than it is truly stirring.
Tom Block - culturevulture.net
[S]olid, old-fashioned entertainment in which everything is much larger than life and the plot elements slide into place with clockwork precision.
Glenn Lovell - San Jose Mercury News
This riveting World War II moral suspense story deals with the shadow side of American culture: racial prejudice in its ugly and diverse forms.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
powerfully "captivating" first twenty minutes, but from there, meanders, searches under barrack bunks and into hollowed-out trim wood for a unified direction.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
Undoubtedly well-intentioned, but it attempts to deliver too many messages at once, and does so with far too heavy a hand.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
If you think of the film at all after the lights come up, best not to contemplate the plot, which is littered with holes like P-51 rocket craters.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
[E]ventually, every idea in this film is flushed down the latrine of heroism.
Kevin John Bozelka - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The second half of the film is pure malarkey.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
Opens as promising as any war/adventure film you'll ever see and dissolves into a routine courtroom drama, better suited for a movie titled "Glory: A Soldier's Story."
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Hoblit is a slick director, but I like it much better when he sticks to the creepy and the supernatural (like Primal Fear, Fallen and Frequency).
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
What could have been Hogan's Heroes with a racial theme is instead a tense, taut drama, with Willis giving one of his best performances of his career and Farrell shining through.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
Worth a salute just for trying to be more complex than your average film.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If suiting up for Hart's War hardly constitutes patriotic duty, it's not a bad place to bivouac.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
War may be hell, but Hart's War is more like chess.
Todd Anthony - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hart's War plays like its inmates look -- exhausted, fetid -- and it drags on and on, as endless as war itself.
Robert Wilonsky - New Times
[P]roves filmmakers can still mine this genre for a streak of precious metal.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
...breathes surprising new life into the familiar by amalgamating genres and adding true human complexity to its not-so-stock characters.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
If you've ever heard the word "schizophrenic" used to describe a movie and you weren't exactly sure what that meant, the wartime drama Hart's War is a picture-perfect example.
Scott Weinberg - Apollo Guide
A study in shades of gray, offering itself up in subtle plot maneuvers...
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
That the Nazi commandment allows American POWs to conduct a court-martial of another American POW makes this original and entertaining.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
The well-timed message of the movie, about the meaning of honor, is certainly one that resonates.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
Eschewing most of the big battle scenes, it instead focuses on the relationships of soldiers who don't always get along even as they serve under the same flag.
J. Robert Parks - Phantom Tollbooth
The only thing missing is Roberto Benigni doing his best Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation: "Here comes the judge!"
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine