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FIELD OF LOST SHOES is war drama based on a powerful true story set during the Civil War. The movie begins with modern day footage of Virginia Military Institute cadets. It prefaces that every year, the VMI holds a parade in honor of those that died in the Battle of New Market, a fight where seven young friends went into the battle, and only four left alive.
Cut back to the mid-1864, where the brutal Union General Ulysses S. Grant reassures President Lincoln that he’ll do anything to defeat the enemy. John C. Breckinridge (Jason Isaacs) of the Confederate Army, a similarly competent leader to Grant also realizes the direness of the war, and the Shenandoah County in Virginia could be the key to victory for both sides. The difference, the Confederates lack the force and numbers necessary to take and hold Shenandoah.
Meanwhile at the Virginia Military Institute, a seven young boys and friends are being trained to join in the fight eventually. John Wise, son of a former Southern Governor is among them. Though John will fight for his brothers and family, he is opposed to Slavery and states that “if God grants us victory, we must change.” Also among them is Moses, the only Jew in their group, Sam, Benjamin, Jack, Garland and Robert, the youngest of the group. The boys aren’t the most skilled in the Institute, but they’re the kindest and most honorable, even towards the slaves.
When battle becomes immanent in Shenandoah, Breckinridge of the Confederates is convinced to enlist the boys of the Virginia Military Institute as reserves, just in case they need them. Much to Breckinridge’s horror, the boys will be needed in battle, but their legacy will inspire generations to come.
FIELD OF LOST SHOES takes some time to develop due to the plethora of characters, but once it does, it’s very powerful. The sets, costumes, cinematography, and great performances by the more seasoned actors make this movie no less enrapturing than a major Hollywood war drama. The main productions flaws reside in the battle sequence which wasn’t edited or choreographed particularly well and some of the young boys overdramatize their roles. It’s no GOD’S AND GENERALS, but otherwise, the movie is highly entertaining and inspiring.
There’s a very strong biblical worldview with some Christian elements in the story. The boys exhibited bravery, courage, honor, and selflessness throughout. While they fight on the side of the Confederates, neither side is demonized as is commonly done. The complexity of the situation is shown, and the movie balances itself finely by merely honoring, not just the brave boys from VMI, but all who died during the war.
There’s battle violence and foul language, but nothing gratuitous, so caution is advised. It’s worth noting that most of the profanities uttered are by one general played by Jason Isaacs. The movie would have been much improved without this offensive language in an otherwise clean and uplifting movie.

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