Courage Under Fire
- Original title
Courage Under Fire
- Running time
- 116 min.
- United States
Patrick Sheane Duncan
Lou Diamond Phillips,
Fox 2000 Pictures
War. Drama | Gulf War. Army
- Synopsis / Plot
- Following the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Serling (Denzel Washington) is assigned to review the background of the late Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan), who has been posthumously nominated for a medal of honor. While investigating Walden's candidacy, Serling is forced to face his own disillusionment and guilt surrounding the war. As he begins the interviewing process, he uncovers several inconsistencies in the stories told by the late pilot's crew. The three officers, who may or may not have been saved by the captain's actions, all give drastically different accounts of the events leading up to Walden's death. Ilario (Matt Damon) paints Walden as an unselfish, courageous hero, while the surly Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillips) describes her as a crybaby and a coward. The third soldier, Altameyer (Seth Gilliam), lies dying in an army hospital, mumbling guilty confessions in a medicated haze. Similar to the storytelling technique used in Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, director Edward Zwick's COURAGE UNDER FIRE features each officer's account of the fateful incident reenacted onscreen, offering wildly diverse portrayals of Walden. Meg Ryan shines in a role that demands she play one character a multitude of ways. As Serling pieces together the radically different tales of combat, he uncovers the painful truth and simultaneously faces his own pent-up guilt regarding the war.
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