Men of Honor

Movie: Men of Honor

Men of Honor
Men of Honor

Men of Honor is a contender for the movie with the most stellar cast that you’ve never heard of. Robert de Niro, Cuba Gooding, Jr, and Charlize Theron star in this ficitonalised account of the life of Carl Brashear, the first US Navy African American master diver.

Brashear grew up in poverty and enlisted in the navy 1948, an era during which race relations in the United States were not that dissimilar to race relations in South Africa. He showed dogged persistence in surmounting obstacles far greater than those placed before his white classmates, and successfully qualified as a navy diver in 1954.

Navy divers performed challenging underwater work, retrieving lost nuclear warheads (this happened more often than you’d like to know, during the dawn of the nuclear era), salvage work, repairs to ships, demolitions, clearing harbours, and maintenance (all underwater, of course). In many respects it is much like commercial diving, but with a combat element to it. The underwater scenes are reasonably convincing (except for one shot with a submarine) – suspiciously clear water being my chief complaint, but realism doesn’t always make for good viewing!

This is a highly simplified account of the life of a complex character, but Tony and I both enjoyed rooting for Brashear to overcome the odds and wipe the smirk off various antagonistic establishment characters’ faces. This always happened (no surprises there). Charlize Theron’s role is quite peripheral and, frankly, somewhat confusing. Robert de Niro is always wonderful.

You can get the DVD here if you’re in South Africa, otherwise here or here. It wouldn’t be a total waste of an evening, specially if you had popcorn to hand…

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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