The Ultimate WW2 movie thread

DID YOU LIKE WINDTALKERS

  • YES

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • NO

    Votes: 13 72.2%

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dannybou

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Originally posted by Iron Mike USMC
For what it is worth, my wife is a huge Kiefer Sutherland fan (gag). She purchsed the movie this past Sunday. No interest in the content, only him. Will get back to this thread after I have seen it.
Iron Mike, have you seen the movie yet?
 

Marines

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Heres a review of the film it long but it gives you a good idea of what its all about. I've seen and like.

To End All Wars (2004)

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland, Ciarán McMenamin

Director: David L. Cunningham

Rating: R

Distributor: Fox Home Entertainment

Release Date: June 15, 2004
Review posted: May 28, 2004

Spoilers: Major

Reviewed by Dylan Grant

SYNOPSIS

A Japanese P.O.W. camp during World War II becomes the battleground for the souls as well as the lives of its Scottish and British prisoners when a captured regiment is forced by the Japanese to construct the infamous “Railway of Death.” Based on a true story.



CRITIQUE



Try as I did, I could not get it out of my head how much To End All Wars reminded me of Bridge On The River Kwai, David Lean’s 1957 masterpiece starring Alec Guiness and William Holden. That is because both films tell the same story – the brutal conditions endured by British and Scottish POW's as they built the Thailand-Burma Railroad, the “Railway of Death” – each from a different perspective. While Bridge On The River Kwai is based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, To End All Wars tells the true story, based on the war memoirs of Ernest Gordon, a 24-year-old Scottish soldier captured by the Japanese while attempting to escape from Sumatra.



Ernest (McMenamin) is the center of the film, the philosophy teacher who shipped out with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, drawn by the glory of war and the chance to see the world. We pick up the story just after they have been captured. The Allies, seen as less-than-human by their Japanese captors, are rounded up, blindfolded, and loaded onto trucks. The opening is beautifully filmed, with some good POV shots that go far to put us in the action quickly. Captured with Ernest are Major Campbell (Carlyle) and the cynical, weary Reardon (Sutherland). Reardon is the only American in the group, and the only one who has any idea what makes the Japanese tick. Reardon is out for himself. When asked what he wants to do after the war, he says that he wants to go into business for himself, prostitutes, the black market, that kind of thing. Sutherland is not bad in the role; he is actually quite good. But his performance has a phoned-in quality to it, like he was just killing time between seasons of 24.



Carlyle is a bit better. I have been a fan of his since Trainspotting, and he is just as intense here. When the regiment’s father-figure commanding officer is killed, command is bestowed to Major Campbell, whose anger simmers, his hatred towards the “nips” building over the course of the film. Escape is the only thing on his mind, escape at any cost. We see far too little of Major Campbell, our sense of what he is thinking coming too often through voice-over narration. The whole film suffers from too much voice-over, much of it needless and tiresome. Too often it is used to point out the obvious, and more than once it works to the detriment of the suspense. Ernest is the film’s narrator, so as he lies dying in the camp’s hospital, called the “Death House,” he continues to give narration as to how he is feeling. When the characters first arrive at the camp, the prisoners learn that landing in the Death House equals certain death. But since Ernest is narrating, the audience knows that he is going to beat the odds and survive, which kills the suspense.



The construction of the railroad is largely a backdrop, and we see very little of its construction. Nearly 16,000 soldiers died building it, but there is very little in the film that gives a sense of the gravity of so many lives lost. We never even get a sense of just how many people are in the camp, or how many are working on the railroad. It must be a lot, because they finish six months ahead of schedule, but this must be inferred. In fact, we never see any soldiers that have been worked to death. The soldiers who die in To End All Wars are killed by their Japanese captors. Some are shot, one is crucified, but we never see the conditions claiming any of them.



The acting is the best thing about the film. Sutherland, while not his best performance, does well to bring off the arc of his character. Reardon goes from being the self-centered lout, to the selfless soldier who takes a paralyzing beating just to keep a mistake from bringing more harm to his fellow captives. Carlyle gives a nuanced performance as the major who descends into self-hatred as he comes to realize that he is no different than Ito, the brutal Japanese soldier running the camp.



The theme of similarities between the two sides is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film. The Allied prisoners have, in the eyes of their captors, been disgraced because they allowed themselves to be taken prisoner; it would have been better for them to kill themselves. As we come to find out, the Japanese soldiers who run the camp have been disgraced themselves as well. As Takashi, the translator, says, “It is like a punishment” to be assigned prison duty. The similarities are what push Major Campbell over the edge. As he tortures Ito in the end, he says something to the effect that, had the roles been reversed, he would have been the same way. Ciarán McMenamin is the real find here. His character is there to record the travesty, so he has the flattest arc of the three, but his performance is stellar. I would be curious to see what the actor does in the future.



To End All Wars is not a bad film. However, it suffers from familiarity, the feeling that we have seen this all before, and from the TV movie quality that leaves the impression that the people making it had grander ambitions than their budget would allow. The acting is top notch, the writing and direction competent, but the whole does not add up to the sum of the parts. What we are left with in the end is a film brimming with potential that just could not be realized. Ultimately, it takes a tried and true formula and does well without adding anything to it. This is not the first time you will have seen this, and it probably won’t be the last.
 

dannybou

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Thanks Marines. Will have to order the movie from Amazon I guess. :thumb:
 
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Re: Re: Combat!

Originally posted by Gus
Let's face it - even with battle gear and a Thompson spitting lead, Cage is just too sexy to be a front-line Joe, but as Carrelli, this was no shortcoming.
But how the hell did Cage and the radioman in disguise get behind the Jap lines during the battle?????
Suspension of disbelief....................
 
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Re: Re: Re: 50 WW II Movies To Think About, 5 To Avoid

Originally posted by PvtJohnson
i thought enemy at the gates was a great movie, but i guess i was wrong.
There is no right or wrong, these are just opinions.
 

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Band of Brothers is by far the best war movie ever.
 

dannybou

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Post all discussions about movies in this thread. Other threads on this topic will be merged with this one.
 

eyemo

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The worst movie ever...... Pearl Harbour..... Insulting!

I microwaved my copy (Sorry Pete!)

Best ever.

Band of Brothers,
Then I'm biased, I'm in it....

SPJ
Photographer ACG.
 

eyemo

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It sparked a bit, and then crumpled... A bit like Ben Affleck's acting..
 

eyemo

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I totally agree..... I was really looking forward to it when I heard it had gone into production, and to be honest, it was only the use of quality special effects that made me watch it all the way through
 
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Windtalkers

The much maligned movie "Windtalkers" is on the History Channel at 8PM Eastern time tonight. If you haven't seen it and are wondering what all of the criticism is about, now is you chance to see it without having to fork over any hard earned cash. Or you might just be like me who may watch it and treat it like a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" movie and make mocking comments at the screen..............
 

Simon_G

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Band of Brothers appealed to me because it conveyed the emotion of war. Likewise Private Ryan. Modern WW2 movies have a far different feel about them from 1960s movies.

My dad was at Arromanches on D-day and I appreciate these modern movies which try to give you a feel from the common man's perception.

Speaking of which Battle of Britain was quite impressive as was Tora Tora Tora. I remember Tora Tora Tora built large models jutting out from a beach to create some shots. That was back in the days before sophisticated effects, but it worked really well. They also converted Harvards into Zeros.

My major fault with Saving Private Ryan was the scene after scaling the cliffs when Tom Hanks was given his orders and took along that clerk who could speak German. The background was unconvincing because it lacked sufficient ships off the beach. In this day and age with computer graphics it would not be so hard to rework that scene's background. Please somebody have a bash at it...
 
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I love and own a copy of The Longest Day. At the time it came out, with the German actors really speaking Deutsch, instead of English actors just changing their w's into v's, the buzz was that it would be a challenge for viewer to watch. But the movie proved that wrong. It was an awesome and somewhat accurate telling of the day.

I also love and own Saving Private Ryan. Much has been made about the landing scenes being too horrific and a full 30 minutes devoted to it. After my dad saw the movie (he was a Higgins boat Coxswain in the Pacific) I asked him what he thought about the realism of the landing.
"Well, he said, " I don't remember many of them just being thirty minutes long."

Dad was actually in "The Fighting SeaBees" along with about a 1000 other swabs in a big shot during training in San Diego.
 
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