I am usually afraid of watching movies “based on true stories”. I'm scared of the ones who tell the truth, because it makes me aware that certain things actually happened, and I'm scared of the ones stained by fiction, because altering history is a cruel crime. Without knowing the reality of facts, even when we hate them, we can't learn from it...diminishing history and making simple past, useless and inert. This movie was for me an exception. It touched me deeply especially because based on a true story. I hate war and violence with every part of my heart, but this doesn't prevent me from remembering with honor those who risked their lives for the cause of freedom.
Red Tails (2012) tells us about part of the story of the 99th Fighter Squadron of the American Air Force, active during the years of WWII in the skies over our Mediterranean Sea. The Tuskegee Airmen was a pursuit squadron formed by bombers and pilots, especially requested by President Roosvelt, who stood out for the number of accomplished missions, the small percentage in the number of losses and for the team spirit among its members. The extraordinary aspect of this Squadron was that at the wheel of those “red tail” fighter-bombers – hence the nickname Red Tails – were only black pilots. The movie relates the fight of this group of men who had to fight for their right to combat, proving mission after mission not to be inferior to the other soldiers, not in ability nor courage. The Tuskegee Airmen had to face two wars: one in the air against the german aircrafts, another on the ground against the mistrust of the high commanders of the American Air Force and against the contempt and discrimination by white pilots. Report after report they managed to gain the rispect and honor they deserved, in a country still plagued by blatant and fierce racism. On top of the exaggerated reputation of being basically invincible – there has been for years the belief that any aircraft escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen could be shoot-down. - this courageous squad of americans, including the 66 pilots fallen in battle, obtained awards and Medals of Honor, among which the Golden Medal of the Congress in 2007.
Racism is still dwelling in the majority of peoples' hearts in any country, and its fire is particulary awaken usually when it's about black people. It's been this way for centuries, despite the fact that there has always been someone who fought for change, and unfortunately I believe that left to men things will stay this way. Movies like this one, though, are good for the ones of us who still have a sensitive conscience and a heart to be touched. They were soldiers...they killed just like their enemies did and taking away lives is always despicable. It's not the soldiers, nor the pilots, nor the americans who I've watched in this movie...but the men who had to gain the right to fight for what they believed in; a right that is automatically granted to others but hindered and finally begrudgignly given to them, only because of the color of their skin.
It's a very well-made movie, realistic and real, interpreted by a team of actor who felt what they were acting. There is also a small love-story between an italian girl and one of the Tuskegee pilots. A war romance, between people who were different and didn't even speak the same language but who could speak to each other's heart. David Oyelowo and Daniela Ruah did a really good job...but the characters could nothing against the blazing fire of the war. Moving on to less tragic aspects, the squad guys are young, funny and a big reckless; the action or fight scenes are thrilling and well shoot. Even I could follow them, whereas I usually can't grasp anything of war movies.
The cast, almost entirely made up of black actors, includes: Cuba Gooding Jr, Terrence Howard, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Tristan Wilds, Nate Parker and Kevin Phillips. Other American soldiers were Robert Kazinsky, Bryan Cranston and Gerald McRaney.
It is a movie I really enjoyed watching...and re-watching for the story, the action and also the important themes addressed. It is, therefore, highly recommended.