Movie review: 'Copperhead' a dull march through Civil War history

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The slow-moving drama "Copperhead" depicts a little-known facet of the Civil War, but in a way so tedious you're not surprised that it's rarely told.

It's 1862 in upstate New York, where a handful of anti-Lincoln Democrats oppose the war and are given the nickname "Copperheads." One is Abner Beech (Billy Campbell, from "The Killing"), a farmer whose son Jeff (Casey Brown) is in love with young schoolteacher Esther Hagedorn (Lucy Boynton). And Esther's father, Bible-thumping lumber-mill operator Jay Hagedorn (Angus Macfadyen), is a rabid war supporter.

First-time screenwriter Bill Kauffman adapts Harold Frederic's 1893 novel with the plodding pace and historical exposition of an educational film. And director Ron Maxwell, whose résumé includes the four-hour Civil War dramas "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals," does little to spark any passion in the performances.; —



Opens Friday, Aug. 2, at Tower Theatre; rated PG-13 for an unsettling sequence; 120 minutes.