Men of Honor (2000) Review


The true story of Carl Brashear who would become the first ever African-American US Navy Diver and the prejudice he had to face in order to achieve his dream. A look into his training and the horrific behaviour from Master Chief Billy Sunday and his team.


When Carl Brashear decided to join the US Navy and leave behind his life in Kentucky he become as a crew member on the ship USS Hoist, assigned to the gallery he is truly inspired one day when one of the divers shows true bravery and from that moment on he wants nothing more than to become a diver himself. The Navy had never had a black man do this role before. The man who inspired him was Leslie William “Billy” Sunday.

As you can guess the very man that inspired him was going to become his biggest enemy stopping at nothing to try and fail him from the divers course. While the actual diving side is something that he can more than deal with he left school at a very young age to work on his families farm and struggles massively with the educational side. He is helped by Jo, the woman that would go on to become his wife.

It is a very difficult film to watch at times because of the clear racism from everyone involved towards Brashear. Obviously I am aware that this is based on real life and it all happened to him, but that is what truly makes it even more difficult to watch. It breaks my heart to remember how badly people were treated because of the colour of their skin. Not one of the potential divers had as much honour as Brashear.

It was then interesting to see how as Brashear rose though the ranks Sunday fell to the very bottom. Just showing that you should always treat others with respect as you never know where your going to end up or what is going to happen next. So many powerful scenes that really do show if you want to achieve your dreams you might just have to fight very hard to get to them. That is something that this really does highlight, I am sure we can all think of different moments in life where it has been tough and it is nothing compared to the sheer hell Brashear was put through. Cutting his bag so he couldn’t pass the course which backfired when he stayed in the water hours longer and still managed to do it.

The final scene is extremely powerful for both men showing how far they had come and for Sunday to eventually realise the big mistakes he had made in the past. It certainly did not make up for it but at least he was now fighting for the right person. Those 12 steps really were something else and that scene was incredible cookie.

Its worth remembering that to make a film powerful you need some very good performances and we more than get that from Cuba Gooding Jr and Robert De Niro. Both incredible and bounce off each other so very well. Gooding Jr is a joy to watch in this one and really nails the never give up attitude of the man he was portraying. De Niro fills you with hatred towards his character and that is exactly what he was supposed to do. The sheer presence he has on screen really is exceptional and he was the perfect choice for this role it has to be said. In terms of support we are given Aunjanue Ellis and Charlize Theron as the wives and in all honesty they aren’t really given a massive amount of screen time or many lines when they are on screen which was a little bit of a shame.

A very powerful well made film that manages to capture and show what honour really is.

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