Movie Reviews
4:35 pm
Fri March 7, 2003

Tears of the Sun

...something about Willis's world-weariness, his difficulty in countering commands even for the best of reasons, makes his portrayal unforgettable in the subtlest way.

In "Tears of the Sun" Navy SEALS Lt. Bruce Willis carries himself like a few superior officers I have known, especially Col David Hunt, now a Fox TV consultant: intelligent, vigilant, wary, articulate, and caring. This film is nothing new in the search and rescue genre ("Behind Enemy Lines" back through "Bat*21" to the dawn of cinema), namely that he and his special ops crew must extricate a white female doctor from the jungle of Nigeria during one of its purges.

But something about Willis's world-weariness, his difficulty in countering commands even for the best of reasons, makes his portrayal unforgettable in the subtlest way. When the doctor, played by Monica Bellucci, refuses to leave the 70 natives from her hospital, Willis agrees but plans to renege only to change his mind again out of some ethical debate going on inside of him and unknown to his men.

The cinematography by Mauro Fiore, who worked with director Antoine Fuqua also on "Training Day," is nothing short of gorgeous: a strange lizard up close, a colossal sunrise far away, green jungle like wallpaper perfectly placed on a terrifying wilderness. And it's actually Hawaii.

Whether they all make it to Cameroon is not as important as how they get there; character reveals itself in this film gently and quietly, like a howler monkey barely heard above the din of a waterfall. But you know it's there.