The Patriot Resource - The Patriot

The Patriot Film Cast: Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper
Character Portrayed in The Patriot: Harry Burwell

Born: July 9, 1952; Kansas City, Missouri

Notable Awards and Nominations:
Academy Awards:
- 2003 Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Adaptation
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA):
- 2003 Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Adaptation
Golden Globes:
- 2003 Best Supporting Actor Award for Adaptation
Independent Spirit Award:
- 1997 Best Actor Nomination for Lone Star
Screen Actors Guild:
- 2000 Best Supporting Actor Nomination for American Beauty
- 2003 Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Adaptation
- 2004 Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Seabiscuit

In The Patriot
Chris Cooper's rugged persona again makes a good fit for his role as Colonel Harry Burwell. He wasn't given much to work with, but his interactions with Mel Gibson's Benjamin Martin left me wanting to see more of Burwell and Martin's friendship, rather than less of Burwell. In an early script, this role had a lot more to it, but in the theatrical cut of the film all that is left of Burwell is to be the lone speaking role that represents the Continental Army.

What remains in the film is that Colonel Burwell comes across tired and frustrated with the progress of the war. He is nonetheless ever loyal to the cause and yet respectful of Benjamin Martin and his own family responsibilities. Chris Cooper's low-key acting style makes it easy for him to have chemistry with other actors. He does well in his scenes with Mel Gibson. However, his character Burwell defers to Benjamin Martin, even when he should not in the chain of command of the regular army.

We never actually see Burwell in command. Instead, his character basically looks after Gabriel and then even defers to Benjamin Martin in the last battle. Cooper makes Burwell a likeable character and he and Gibson manage to convey the hint of a strong and lengthy friendship, but the film makes it difficult for Burwell to not come across as two-dimensional and Benjamin Martin's doormat in the regular Continental Army.

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