Cold Mountain

by Michael Potemra

A couple of people recommended I see Cold Mountain; I was reluctant, fearing the movie would combine a romanticization of the Civil War with indulgence in politically correct Hollywood clichés. I was wrong to hesitate. It’s actually a compelling human drama that accomplishes the very difficult task of simultaneously 1) depicting the brutal degradation that war causes to both soldiers and civilians and 2) avoiding the morally obtuse conclusion that war should be prevented at literally any cost. In this film, the Civil War is shown to be a great evil; but it is not suggested that it was an unnecessary evil, nor that both sides were equally at fault for it. After seeing the movie I read Mac Owens’s solid NRO piece on it–which I also strongly recommend.