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USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage Movie Review

Updated on February 24, 2018
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

I was hoping against all hope that USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage would be a great film. I love true stories, especially war-time stories. While Nicolas Cage, just like every other actor, has his stinker films and his great films, I wanted Indianapolis to be among the greats. As a loyal Cage-ite I can say that for the most part I enjoyed the film's story and acting. As a film reviewer and critic, I am saddened by the inexcusable level of inaccuracy the film portrayed.

For those that don't know, the film follows the survivors of the USS Indianapolis after its sinking by two Japanese sub torpedoes. The survivors were stranded in shark-infested water for 4 and a half days before finally being rescued.

After seeing the film, I listened to the account of some of the survivors and read up on the incident on Smithsonian and Wikipedia. For the most part, the film got the events right. Where it flops is the fact that there was no attention to detail, from the lingo to the uniforms to Naval protocol. Also, the USS Alabama was used in the film to represent the Indianapolis. The problem with that is, the Alabama is a battleship and the Indianapolis was a cruiser. The look was all wrong.

I see people say the CGI was horrible and it ruined the film. Well blah-di-blah. There was barely any CGI in the film. The opening 30 minutes had CGI and that was it. While yes, it was bad, it wasn't overpowering. I guarantee you the same people complaining are the same people that own all five Sharknado movies. Now THAT is bad CGI.

The survivors are seen attacked by Great White sharks. While many accounts from survivors did in fact state there were 3 or 4 men a day die from shark attacks, they never specified what kind of sharks they were. At least two accounts state the sharks were 15 feet long. Considering the ship was between Guam and the Philippines, it's highly unlikely the sharks were Great Whites as the film portrayed. Historians believe that they were Oceanic Whitetip sharks. They are just as deadly, however, the correct shark should have been used for the film rather than going with the most popular kind.

There are spoilers here, but I do need to specify that Captain McVay's death was also misrepresented. The film depicts him committing suicide inside his home, in uniform, looking at a small toy soldier that he received as a boy. In reality, McVay was outside on his front lawn holding the soldier while he shot himself.

In conclusion, I really wanted this film to be amazing. In story, it was. It was the inaccurate detail and misrepresentation of certain historical facts that was the film's ultimate downfall. I give the film a 1.5 out of 4.

© 2018 Alec Zander


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    • Alec Zander profile image

      Alec Zander 8 weeks ago from Sylva, NC

      Pat - He's had a couple lately but honestly he has more good than bad. I don't understand why many critics feel the need to bash him. His indie films just require a bit of thought, emotion, and empathy.

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      Pat Mills 8 weeks ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      It seems like Nicolas Cage has been on a stinker streak for years, save for his work in Snowden. It's too bad that this film seems to fudge with the truth so much. Thanks for the warning.