Don’t give up on Hollywood. I just had the exciting opportunity to pre-screen Gettysburg director Ron Maxwell’s third Civil War movie premiering Friday, June 28. If you see just one movie this summer, make it Copperhead.
Copperhead is worth seeing because it re-tells American history with an intimate, engaging and non-textbook approach. Away from the mighty battlefields and memorable generals we finally get to experience behind-the-scenes struggles of the Civil War through a few friends, lovers, neighbors and family members trying to speak their minds while practicing what they preach.
Copperhead is based on a novel by Harold Frederic, who lived through the Civil War as a boy. The lead character, Abner Beech, opens the movie by saying: “They called us people in the North that didn’t want the war Copperheads.” When Abner’s hired boy puzzles over the hatred and violence exerted by one-time friends and neighbors, Abner explains: “War is a fever son… puts you out of your right mind; you do things you wouldn’t do when you’re sick…”
President Obama is on the verge of bypassing Congress and hauling the United States into a war in Syria much like his war in Libya, which he called “kinetic military action” in order to sneak past the Constitution. When it comes to war, Obama is hardly transparent with the American people.
Obama feigns that he is only now contemplating arming sketchy Syrian rebels. But the truth is that he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been secretly arming Syrian rebels with links to terrorism for a very long time; by all major accounts, Obama’s gun-running program played a key role in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September, 11, 2012.
War, especially civil war, comes at a price and it is far easier to get into war than out of war. Copperhead takes us into the homes of a few families who started out as neighbors with different beliefs. Instead of free speech and open debate, violence became the mode of making one’s points clear. In a particularly emotional scene, two grown men and neighbors-turned-enemies cling to each other in open despair, tears filling their eyes, as they realize they may have lost their most precious possessions in their rage.