Sunday, January 1 1995
Ride with the Devil is essentially two films in one. The first is a story of loyalty - to family, community, and nation - tested in the social and political upheavals of civil war. The second is a story of male bonding and love in a homosocial order, the negotiation of male-male desire, and male domestication, all triangulated and enabled through the body of a woman.
Ride With the Devil dares to bring yet another version. Directed by Ang Lee and written by Lee and his usual collaborator James Schamus (who adapted Daniel Woodrell's novel Woe to Live On, a novel inspired, says the author, by today's warfare in the Balkans), the film is rather surprising, and not only because it stars Jewel as a Southern widow. Telling stories that don't usually get told, Ride With the Devil focuses on some of the War's more disgraceful and outrageous aspects, both personal and public.