Friday, January 23, 2015

Amazon Prime – Point of Honor

At this point, The Civil War can be summed up in by a series of clichés; North vs South, Brother vs Brother, States Rights vs Human Rights.  Also, by this point is there any reason to cover the Civil War if you aren’t saying anything new? 

Point of Honor would say “yes.” 

Point of Honor focuses on one Virginia slave owning family, The Rhodes. Ralston Rhodes is the patriarch.  He’s got three daughters, Kate, Lorelei and Estella.  He’s also got two sons, Garland and John.  John is a cadet at West Point and his friend and classmate Robert Sumner recently married Lorelei. 

So when all the talk of secession hits West Point a ton of cadets leave to fight for their home states.  John makes a speech about how he’s freeing his slaves, but leaving West Point to fight for Virginia.  Of course Robert is staying to fight with the Union, because he from New York.  You see The Civil War is already tearing a family apart. 

Back in Virginia, the Rhodes sisters free their slaves and talk about the upcoming war.  Also Ralston decides to for his own battalion to fight for his state.

Eventually Robert comes to Virginia, under the command of the ruthless Palmer Kane (Patrick Heusinger).  Naturally there’s a battle between Ralston’s crew and Robert’s crew, which results in Robert’s death.  John finds his father and hears his last word “Robert” as he watches Robert retreat. 

There’s literally nothing good about Point of Honor.  The actors are saddled with dialogue that’s either heavy-handed or anachronistic, and sometimes both.   It’s almost like the writers set out with a checklist of clichés and tried to mark off as many as they could. 

And characters make quizzical decisions.  John, a pretty progressive guy, opts to free his slaves but fight for his state?  The act of freeing his slaves doesn’t go over well with his neighbors, there a scene that involves a laughably small mob outraged at the news.  Estella feels like a character completely out of place for the era; the smokes, drinks and sleeps around.  She’s hardly a Southern Belle.  As if to balance out how anarchistic she behaves, she’s also uber pro Dixie and pro slavery.  

Other things are done poorly as well.  The entire opening sequence, which is meant to show us a Civil War battle, where John and Robert are on opposite sides, is a huge waste of time and presumably budget.  Everyone knows about the Civil War and it’s been recreated much better.  That money could have gone towards making Cullen’s horseback scenes looking slightly realistic. 

There’s also an attempt to give the Black actors playing slaves a storyline, but it’s pretty much a misfire. 

Point of Honor has the distinction of being the worst Amazon pilot I’ve ever seen.  But it’s definitely worth watching, as long as you’re playing some sort of cliché drinking game. 

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