Cinema: Some More Good Men

The plot's predictable, the characters are cliches. Yet this naval drama sails through with flying colors

There are times when less would not be more, when it would just be regrettably...less. Umberto Eco has argued, for example, that Casablanca works because it evokes every convention of the romantic-adventure genre. If it had missed even one or two of them, he suggests, it would have been just another forgettably routine wartime movie.

That idea applies neatly to Men of Honor. It is one of those dramas of peacetime military service in which a determined individual attains what he wants--in this case, master-chief rank and to be a master diver in the U.S. Navy--and in the process surmounts his...

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