Following the 1991 Gulf War Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) is assigned to review the background of the late Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) who has been posthumously nominated for a medal of honor. While investigating Waldens candidacy Serling is forced to face his own disillusionment and guilt surrounding the war. As he begins the interviewing process he uncovers several inconsistencies in the stories told by the late pilots crew. The three officers who may or may not have been saved by the captains actions all give drastically different accounts of the events leading up to Waldens death. Ilario (Matt Damon) paints Walden as an unselfish courageous hero while the surly Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillips) describes her as a crybaby and a coward. The third soldier Altameyer (Seth Gilliam) lies dying in an army hospital mumbling guilty confessions in a medicated haze. Similar to the storytelling technique used in Akira Kurosawas RASHOMON director Edward Zwicks COURAGE UNDER FIRE features each officers account of the fateful incident reenacted onscreen offering wildly diverse portrayals of Walden. Meg Ryan shines in a role that demands she play one character a multitude of ways. As Serling pieces together the radically different tales of combat he uncovers the painful truth and simultaneously faces his own pent-up guilt regarding the war.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 111 minutes
Production Year: 1996
Main Language: English