Captain Luce (Movie Review)
Captain Matthew Luce of the 20th Special Forces Group from Jackson Mississippi died August 2, after his vehicle was struck by an IED attack during his tour in Afghanistan.
He joined ROTC at Valley Forge Military Academy and earned a commission, in addition to attending Special Forces Qualification Course and Ranger School.
Early Life and Education
At an early age, Luce first developed his interest in public service. While playing sports like baseball and basketball, an accident resulted in him suffering an injured leg that threatened to sideline him from further athletic success and place him on the sidelines of life altogether.
After the Civil War, he focused his attention on training by creating the Navy apprentice program and founding the Naval War College. Additionally, he campaigned for reform in the administration of the Navy Department.
Luce was known for voicing strong opinions, often opposing any proposal to merge the Coast Guard and Navy and supporting merchant marine revival while opposing imperialist pretensions. Additionally, he advocated for additional training programs for naval officers and enlisted men alike; even until his retirement in 1910 as faculty at Naval War College.
Luce participated in numerous diplomatic missions as president of the Naval War College on Coaster’s Harbor Island in Newport and had an impactful influence on enlisted sailors’ education. In 1862 he led midshipmen practice cruise aboard Marion in North Atlantic waters – stopping every vessel that might possibly be used by Confederates privateers.
During his service years he wrote a standard seamanship textbook and developed ideas about reform in the Navy. Additionally he was instrumental in founding and publishing Proceedings from U.S. Naval Institute. Ultimately retiring in 1910 and later dying at Newport.
Achievement and Honors
This film is driven by captivating performances from its central cast, led by Kelvin Harrison Jr’s compelling work as Luce. Additionally, its script explores integration and idealism while challenging assumptions regarding privilege and class.
Luce was considered one of the finest students ever to graduate from the Naval Academy and wrote an influential textbook on seamanship; also, its department was named after him – something no other officer has been granted the distinction of receiving.
With a powerful cast including Naomi Watts and Tim Roth as his parents, Octavia Spencer as his history teacher, and Leo Norbert Butz as his coach Luce is an eye-opening social thriller which raises many questions while offering no clear solutions.
From his initial year in the Navy, Luce set out to improve the education of seamen. For this purpose, he published Seamanship which quickly became an industry standard text.
Even after exerting his best efforts to educate enlisted men, he found it difficult to gain the respect of his superiors. Instead, their dismissive attitudes led them to covert sneers and loud laughter at his ideas.
But Luce persevered, founding the Naval War College for postgraduate studies as well as joining Military Order of Foreign Wars (MOFW). Unfortunately, on August 2, 2009 Luce was killed in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan while serving with MOFW and was survived by his wife Kendahl and daughter Carrie from Fayetteville North Carolina where he served his devout Episcopalian faith before founding Rhode Island Commandery of MOFW.
Kelvin Harrison Jr’s portrayal of Luce is an impressive one in this searing drama that’s sure to turn heads this summer. Amy Edgar (Naomi Watts) and Pete Edgar (Tim Roth) have raised him beyond all expectations – she as his coach; he as an athlete.
Following the Arctic disaster, Luce became convinced that the Navy should reconsider its core functions and train officers accordingly. He spent his remaining career encouraging fellow officers to think similarly – revolutionizing naval strategy along the way.
Although Luce may have good intentions, its execution is so botched as to appear like cinematic provocation at its worst.