From: Houston, TX
Not just a great war film – a great film of any genre (already won the Golden Globe for best film).
Those of you familiar with my Kaiserschlacht 1918 scenario will be aware that the Germans abandoned a salient in their lines in the Somme region in 1917 – to shorten those lines. When they did so, they fell back to very well prepared new positions. The idea for this film is that some gung-ho front-line British commander has erroneously taken that withdrawal as a collapse in morale by the Germans and wants to pursue their broken forces – right into those new lines. Aerial recon has revealed the new lines, however, and the high command knows he is walking into a disaster. But the phone lines have been cut, so they must send couriers instead. The film follows the couriers.
What ensues is a superbly realized exploration of, not just of World War I trench warfare, but warfare in general. Plus the film has a unique mechanism to put the audience in the mud with the couriers: It’s all in ONE shot! The couriers are followed in real time, with the camera never leaving them. (There is one trick used to skip some time, however, but I won’t reveal it).
I would quibble a bit about the premise. It would seem that no commander could be that gung-ho. And couldn’t they just see the new works? But it is still a perfectly good vehicle for setting up the courier thing.
Since the original German lines have been abandoned, the couriers don’t spend too much time in them and are mostly going over territory beyond them. What is shown of the original no-man’s-land is muddy, but probably not muddy enough to satisfy the “it was all mud sea” crowd. Still, my understanding was that the Germans devastated that ground as they abandoned it. So, that may be another quibble.
I also found some of the British cockney accents a bit hard to follow some of the time. Brits may get more out of it than I.
< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 1/10/2020 11:59:05 PM >