Courage Under Fire is a bold and visionary movie that dares to make the pursuit of truth into a spiritual quest.
Denzel Washington gives a brilliant performance as Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling, an armored tank commander in the Gulf War. After killing several of his own men by "friendly fire," he returns to the U.S. and is given the assignment of reviewing the candidacy of Medevac pilot Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) for a posthumous Medal of Honor to be presented by the President to Walden's young daughter on Veterans' Day.
Bothered by the Pentagon's cover-up of his own "friendly fire" incident, Serling finds discrepancies in the story of the rescue operation told by the men who were under Walden's command.
The thought-provoking screenplay by Patrick Sheane Duncan explores the challenges the protagonist faces as he wrestles with his guilt. His conscience is given a work-out in encounters with his wife (Regina Taylor), his superior and mentor (Michael Moriarty), and a reporter (Scott Glenn).
Director Edward Zwick again proves that he is not one to shy away from character-driven dramas centered on moral issues. Courage Under Fire is a thought-provoking drama with its rigorous and nuanced exploration of truth, bravery, guilt, and self-respect.