Thursday, 26 May 2011

We don't murder; we kill.

The Big Red One (1980)
Chosen by Darron Bowley who had this to say: 'Somewhat famous as Mark Hamill's attempted 'break out' film after Star Wars, that idea didn't quite work out as planned did it. This is perhaps the first true 'war' film I've lent Dave. As the war, and it's effects, are the focus of the film. I like the soldier's eye view the film takes, alternating the frantic fighting and 'hurry up and wait' life of a soldier. My favourite story beat is the one involving the opposing German soldier they keep encountering without actually meeting, until the end that is. I like to imagine that there is a companion film out there that tells a story from his perspective, again only intersecting with the others at certain points. All in all, one of the better war movies out there.'

Although a little clunky and slightly overlong this is a pretty terrific film about the madness of war. Closer in tone to Catch 22 or even MASH than Saving Private Ryan.
It offers an unblinking take on what needs to be done in war but catches and contrasts the insanity for both sides with touches of humanity and compassion that are as fleeting and offputting as the violence.
Lee Marvin is terrific but could probably sleepwalk through the role, Hamill is not really good enough (especially for a moment at the end he can't quite pull off) but the film is well worth a look.

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