Title: Sons of Liberty
Lionsgate / The History Channel
Director: Kari Skogland
Writer: David C. White; Stephen David; Kirk Ellis ;Zachary Herrmann; Jordan Rosenblum
Cast: Ben Barnes, Marton Csokas, Ryan Eggold, Henry Thomas, Michael Raymond-James, Rafe Spall, Jason O’Mara,Dean Norris, Emily Berrington
Running Time: 270 minutes (3 part miniseries); Unrated (Violence, mild language, mild sexuality)
Special Features: 3 behind the scenes featurettes – Lensing Liberty; Men of Independence; The Choreography of War
Available on DVD, VOD, Blu-Ray on May 26th
The Sons of Liberty were a group of American colonists that created the 13 colonies to protect rights and fight taxation from the English crown. This miniseries tells the stories of the men involved in the creation of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel Adams (Ben Barnes), John Adams (Henry Thomas), Paul Revere (Michael Raymond-James), John Hancock (Rafe Spall), Dr Joseph Warren (Ryan Eggold), Ben Franklin (Dean Norris).
The Good: The costumes and set design were fantastic. The cinematography was beautiful. Some of the casting was perfect, like Dean Norris as Ben Franklin. Franklin was a slutty old dude and he captured that. The three featurettes were short and informative, and if you’re a viewer interested in set design or costuming, it’s right up your alley.
The Bad: Remember when VH1 did that tv movie of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s last night together before John was murdered? This miniseries kind of reminded me of that. Let’s make some shit up that maybe-possibly-probably didn’t happen and run with it. They took liberties with the story of the revolution and just went their own way with it. Some of the stuff could’ve actually happened because they had enough evidence to make it possible -like the affair with Margaret Gage and Dr Joseph Warren. All of the American borns spoke with generic American accents, while the redcoats/British spoke with English accents…never mind that everybody still had kind of a British accent at the time, I guess they didn’t want to confuse the viewers of who was whom. Paul Revere spoke with a kind of weird Bostonian accent that didn’t even exist back then. They also didn’t swear like we do today and have the same speech patterns as we do now. The dialogue was a little too modern and casual to be accurate, but maybe that would’ve confused or bored the viewers. I’m a history buff, and there were a few slight historical inaccuracies that bothered me like the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It wasn’t all signed in one day, it took a month or so after it was adopted to get all the signatures we see today. That’s history class man, not Wikipedia. Ben Barnes was cast as Sam Adams. In 1776, Sam Adams would have been 54 (Ben Barnes is 34), that’s one hell of an age difference. Ben Franklin was 70 at the time of the revolution, and actor Dean Norris is 52. That’s still a big age gap, but Franklin was a virile old dude. The rest of the cast played age appropriate, why is that? There’s plenty of older actors out there that are still in good shape that could’ve played Sam Adams…which is another thing. When the redcoats are looking for Sam Adams, they referred to him as “Sam.” They wouldn’t have been so casual. I might just be nitpicking, but this is history dammit. Don’t dumb it down.
I did enjoy Sons of Liberty as a miniseries drama, but I won’t commit to calling it a history lesson. There’s so many inaccuracies in it to declare it a historical drama. I would be concerned as a parent if it were shown in a classroom and the teacher used it as a lesson. Just call it what it is – you’re hungover so it’s movie day.
Total Rating: B
Reviewed by: JM Willis