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Plot Summary: A U.S. Marine is assigned as the bodyguard to a Navajo code-talker during WWII.

Reason for the Rating: Pervasive graphic war violence, and for language.

The concept of Windtalkers is excellent, as it is based on the little known fact that the Navajo language was used in World War II as an unbreakable code that helped win the war, but the movie version doesn’t do justice to that piece of history.

Windtalkers tells the story of U.S. Marine, Joe Enders (Nicholas Cage), who is assigned as the bodyguard to Navajo code-talker Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach).  What Pvt. Yahzee doesn’t know, is that Joe has been given top secret orders to kill him if he were to be captured by the enemy.  While the premise is based on the Navajo’s and their role in WWII, this story is really about Joe and his “demons”, if you will.  We are given Joe’s previous war experience, his hospital recovery, flashbacks, and letters written from a girl back home.  He’s an angry, confused, lonely man.  Ben, on the other hand, comes fresh from the reservation and we don’t get much insight into his life, other than he has a wife and child.  He’s happy, simple, and peaceful.

Information about the code-talkers and the role they played in winning WWII is scarce. Other than a brief notation at the end there isn’t much emphasis on the importance of these men.  If you are hoping for a historically informative movie, this one won’t deliver.

If you are looking for a pyrotechnic, action packed film, this is the movie for which you’ve been waiting.  Although not as graphic as Saving Private Ryan, it still has it’s share of blood, violence, and explosives.  Maybe more than its share, but it is a war movie made in 2002.  A good portion of this two hour movie is spent in battle that is fast-paced and confusing…it’s difficult to tell who is Japanese and who is American, who is killing who, the action is so fast and the camera-work so bumpy.

As with most recent war movies, we are shown a more realistic view of what it must be like to live through war, and we come away, hopefully, with a better understanding of our loved ones who had these experiences: the bonds of friendship, the sorrow of death, and the sights no one should have to see or remember. Recommends: While adults might find WINDTALKERS a worthwhile experience, this movie is rated R for a reason, and is definitely not a show for children or young teens.

After the Show…If members of your family choose to view this movie, use these questions to spark discussion about it afterward:

---What do you think it would be like to be responsible for someone else’s life?  Would you want that responsibility?

---Do you recognize your own prejudice toward other ethnic groups, or a specific person?  How do you think those kinds of attitudes came to be a part of your life

---Do you think Joe Enders might have acted differently if he had been a Christian? Why or why not?

Jill Wuellner


Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios.