review for Gods and Generals on AllMovie

Gods and Generals (2003)
by Jason Gibner review

While being a tale of truly epic historical proportions, Ron Maxwell's Gods and Generals is missing any sense of focus, the one key ingredient keeping it from the greatness it comes so close to achieving. Obviously made with great love for its Civil War subject matter, the film is dead-on accurate in its attention to detail involving sets, costumes, and battle sequences. This love and attention to detail matters little, however, if the viewer does not possess a passion for the subject matter. This is a film in which seemingly every line of dialogue (and there's a lot of talking for a story so rich with battle) is part of a long-winded speech, a Bible quote, or a reference to past historical events. When those words are combined with the entire cast's wooden delivery, dealing with them for the film's unholy three-hour-and 45-minute running time turns out to be nothing but brutally annoying. Gods and Generals features so many characters, so many settings, and so many plot lines in its epic story that it loses all dramatic focus and its audience in a blur of confusion. The final product is something that sadly seems much more like a made-for-television miniseries than a theatrical feature film.