28th Apr2017

‘The Patriot’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Curtis Caldwell, Tom Getty, Daniel Kuttner, Philip Lewis, Eamon McGee, Kirsten Meenan, Joel Neff, David Roush | Written and Directed by Tom Getty


Despite seemingly being under the radar of everyone, it would seem Tom Getty is something of a one-man movie-making machine; having produced, written, directed AND starred in five films since 2003. His latest is Rising Fear, which has (at least on the box art) been retitled The Patriot for its UK DVD debut… I mention on the “box art” as the film still carries the original title in the opening credits, shoddy work from everyone involved in this release! Although that fact is actually a great reflection of the film itself. It’s all a bit… inferior.

But don’t get me wrong, there’s actually a gem of an idea hiding in this movie, it’s just that its hidden within a production that disappoints at almost every turn… Note the almost; that’s the most significant term here, as The Patriot is very much an “almost” film – almost great I mean!

The Patriot sees former marine Ryan Taylor (Getty) framed for a deadly terrorist bombing in Pittsburgh, knowing he’s been set up, Ryan must track down the mastermind behind the plot. But soon he discovers an even deadlier conspiracy that threatens the nation. With federal agents AND a terrorist cell baring down on him, Ryan needs to use every skill he’s learned to stay one step ahead and prevent an even bigger terrorist attack from happening…

Opening with a fantastic combination of newsreel footage and narration, The Patriot gets off to a great, and more importantly, powerful start. The narration talks about how America’s pursuit of freedom has actually spawned the terror that we now all fear… a strong opening that promises a lot. Unfortunately the rest of the film doesn’t match the promise of that strong start. Though it gives it a damn good try. Ultimately what let’s the film down the most is it’s lack of budget – which ultimately effects the overall quality of the movie. For example explosions look a lot like stock CGI footage composited into the film and there are numerous sound quality problems. Which is not surprising, given that The Patriot was apparently shot for $6000. However, writer/director/star Getty does a LOT with that money, aiming for huge blockbuster-like storytelling on a fan-film budget and, almost, almost, getting there!

But that doesn’t stop The Patriot from being highly entertaining, in fact the film manges to overcome its limits by using original concepts (a shock I know, especially in this day and age of remakes and reboots). The Patriot is actually packed with superb, and suprisingly, new ideas: in particular the concept of an innocent bystander setting off a terrorists bomb by calling a hot girl’s number; and a madman who uses everyone as literal weapons in his war. Of course what isn’t new is that the films villain – who has a voice VERY similar to Batman’s Bane – is fueled by a hatred of America, in this case because he… wait for it… WORKED, yes worked, with Osama Bin Laden at one point! Oh, and because he got part of his face blown off too.

A conspiracy theorists wet dream, The Patriot is a well-timed tale of terrorism that plays into the theory that American agencies fund terrorists through backdoor channels, the kind of conspiracy that – today – has led to such a distrust of government that America has a former reality TV star as President. Told you there was more to Getty’s film than just its low-budget production!

The Patriot is out now on DVD from 101 Films.


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