|Field of Lost Shoes|
|Directed by||Sean McNamara|
|Produced by||Dave Kennedy |
|Written by||Dave Kennedy |
|Starring||Luke Benward |
|Music by||Frederik Wiedmann|
|Edited by||Jeff Canavan|
Field of Lost Shoes is a 2014 American war drama film directed by Sean McNamara and written by Dave Kennedy and Thomas Farrell. The film stars Nolan Gould, Lauren Holly, Jason Isaacs, Tom Skerritt, Keith David and David Arquette. It is based on the true story of a group of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute who participated in the Battle of New Market against Union forces during the American Civil War. The battle was fought in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on May 15, 1864. The film's title refers to the large number of soldiers' boots left on the battlefield due to the muddy conditions during the battle. Ten cadets died in the battle.
The film was released in Europe under the title Battlefield of Lost Souls.
In a review of the film, Jeffrey Evan Brooks, author of alternate history novels about the Civil War, criticized the portrayal of the VMI cadets as being opposed to slavery. This was historically inaccurate, as most white Virginia men in the 1860s supported slavery. In addition, the majority of these cadets would have been planters' sons, with even more reason to support slavery. Brooks said it was unsupported historical revisionism.
The Hollywood Reporter also criticized the film for being inauthentic about the cadets' attitudes. Its reviewer said, "Amazingly, none of the staunch Southerners seem to hold any negative feelings toward blacks..." and the film was "Best viewed as a glossy advertisement for the venerable military academy that is its focus".
[H]erein lies a problem for the whole movie and, indeed, for Civil War fiction in general these days: audiences apparently want 19th Century characters to adhere to 21st Century values. John Wise and the other cadets can't be seen as heroes by the audience unless they are opposed to slavery. This is a problem for the rest of the movie... [T]hese VMI cadets like black people just as much as they like white people. If we're honest with ourselves, we must admit that these are not attitudes that would have been commonly held by mid-19th Century white male Virginians. I understand why the filmmakers did this... But it robs the film of authenticity and makes the characters harder to take seriously.