Monday, May 30, 2005


Portraits Of War

There's been a bit of discussion recently about Channel 4's 'Top 100 War Films.' I just wanted to add my two cents' worth on some of the films commented upon:

1) Some of the films are really, really bad. How did 'Braveheart' get as high as it did? It's a genuinely rubbish film.
2) 'The Bridge On The River Kwai' is a superb film, one of my all-time favourites, and I can't begin to understand people's negativity towards it. It's a better film than almost all of those that cam above it, including:
3) 'Saving Private Ryan.' I watched the programme with one of my best mates, and we'd agreed all the way through that 'Apocalypse Now' was sure to win (and I was fine with this), but at about five in the countdown, he said "'Saving Private Ryan' will win." And bugger me, he was right. This is another film, the appeal of which is completely beyond me. The beach landing is, I will readily admit, magnificent, and a superbly written and directed piece of cinema. If only the rest of the film had been anywhere near as good. As it is, it's overwritten, implausible and mawkish.
4) Finally, 'The Deer Hunter.' Channel 4 put this on after the end of the programme, and since it had featured highly in the chart, and neither of us had seen it before, we decided to watch it. My God, what a bore! It's a three hour film, and we gave up after the first hour. I'm sure something eventually happens, but I was getting comatose. The interminable wedding scene in that film might be one of my least favourite scenes ever filmed. It's not awful or anything, and I've seen many, many worse. However, they're all over oh so much quicker. Brevity is a virtue.

Anyway, leave us a comment naming your favourite war film, if you have one.

Possibly The Great Escape or Bridge on the River Kwai; two films to watch on Christmas Day when stuffed full of turkey. Although I usually fall asleep at one point or another, I can just about piece together what happens in both of them.

I agree that both Saving Private Ryan and Braveheart are utter crap. Better than The Sound of Music though, which is the only film I've watched whilst actively cheering on the Nazis.
You missed nothing Steve. I got suckered into watching all of that fucking film, right to the bitter end, when Christopher Walken does exactly what I'd been considering for a while by that time. I kept thinking, there must be a point to all this, I bet something's going to happen soon. I couldn't have got it more wrong.

The Longest Day. Takes a bit of stamina, granted, but worth it all the same, and also best watched at Christmas, stuffed and bleary-eyed.

Here's a thing though - I've just realised how many war films are shown at Christmas. It's possible I've missed a trick here, but isn't that entirely at odds with the Christmas message?
MNK, that is astounding. You posted that comment almost exactly the same time I was buying the DVD copy of 'The Longest Day' from my local video shop (it was on offer). I haven't seen it yet, but I'll post a comment or review when I have.

It looks good though.

Paul B - I've never gone a single Christmas Day without falling asleep. It's become something of a tradition. Consequently, I usually miss the good matinee films, which is a real shame.
It is a very good film with a star-studded cast, and it's entirely possible many hundreds of millions of people were going out buying the DVD as I happened to make my comment. It is on offer, after all. And the fact that you were thinking about war films at all prompted my comment in the first place.

Or it could be a quantum nomological dangler. Happens sometimes, particularly in Basingstoke, for some reason.
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