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passchendaele: no unwounded soldiers

If JFK was a jelly doughnut, I'm a butter tart.

Posted on 2008.21.10 at 21:37
where am I: Rainy, chilly Ottawa
How I feel about it all: indescribableindescribable
Tags:
I'm on internet that isn't free, but even if I wasn't I'd probably still not post a detailed review of Passchendaele. I had planned to, but now I don't think I will, partly because my ramblings would likely fall way short of the actual thing, and also because I couldn't come up with the words right now, especially in this semi-public place with people all around.

So. No plot details, but my initial gut reactions were:

  • The Alberta scenery is so gorgeous it doesn't even look real--it's like they hired God or something to paint a background for the characters. I definitely have to visit Alberta.

  • The big screen loves Paul Gross. Like in a great big giant way.

  • There were exactly two scenes that I thought were a little heavy-handed, and right now I can only remember one of them, and even that one only overdid it a little. In the course of the film, it really doesn't matter.

  • I love the trenches-eye view of the battle--the war from the viewpoint of the soldier. It really brings the viewer into the story in a gut-wrenching way.

  • The grey, stark way the war scenes were shot really brought the ugliness of battle into focus, especially when contrasted with the lush, rich beauty of the Alberta countryside.

  • Mud, mud, mud, everywhere. How did the soldiers stand it?

  • I actually got weepy. Movies never make me cry (although books can, for some reason *shrug*). I've always figured I was impervious.

  • It's really true--this isn't an antiwar or a pro-war film. It's about war in general being a terrible, hellish thing that has a major, lifelong impact on families, relationships, experiences, no matter what political ideology someone might hold.


The theatre I went to is a stone's throw from Parliament Hill, and it was really something for me to walk out the door and be there pretty much immediately afterwards, even though I'm not exactly representative of the target audience. I figure the experience must be multiplied like a lot for those who actually are. If Paul's vision for this film was to inspire national pride and spark interest in Canada's history, he's done his job.

So, yeah, everyone who can see this in the theatre should definitely do so (peacey, for instance. You would love it--the story told isn't limited to one country. Ours has certainly had our share of experiences like this. Not to mention it's beautifully filmed and the battle scenes are incredible). Y'all really owe it to yourselves.

Also? When the DVD comes out, I'm going to screencap the living hell out of it. You have been warned.

Comments:


Stormy
stormymouse at 2008-10-22 02:43 (UTC) ()
we're gonna go see it again on friday. i think this is one of those movies that you just have to see at least two times to get your head wrapped around everything. and of course we're only watching it again for that reason and not because paul is insanely pretty.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-22 11:53 (UTC) ()
I'll definitely see it again before I leave. Probably Friday also. I leave on Saturday, wah.

A particularly foolish knight
bakaknight at 2008-10-22 02:43 (UTC) ()
You're in the same city as I am. That, my dear, is crazy-creepy-awesome.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-22 11:56 (UTC) ()
I'll be here unit Saturday morning. We should do lunch or dinner or something? I won't check back here until later today (pay internet with lots of people wanting to use it), but maybe something tomorrow? My email is primroseb at gmail dot com (you know, only with the actual punctuation).
Nevvererdovit
the_antichris at 2008-10-22 03:21 (UTC) ()
Yes, visit Alberta! Preferably before, say, July next year. Though it's not going to be looking much like the movie in a couple of weeks.

I thought I was going to be annoyed by the Thing That Overdid It (well, the one that's important to the plot; the rat-related one I was just glad I was spoiled for), but he sold it. It was thematically entwined enough to work. It made me cry, too, and I never cry at movies (unless they involve animals). Lots of relevance to NZ's WWI experience.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-22 11:59 (UTC) ()
the rat-related one I was just glad I was spoiled for

I didn't even think about that one! It was pretty incidental in the whole context of things.

The US didn't show up until 1917, but there were some pretty bad experiences for us, too. And from what I read about it, the whole war was pretty pointless.

ETA: I may actually get to Alberta next year. songdog lives in Idaho, and it's not (relatively) that far away.

Edited at 2008-10-22 12:00 (UTC)
peacey at 2008-10-22 12:30 (UTC) ()
Yep, I'll see it, but only because Netflix is my friend. God knows I couldn't hope the movie would show up in a backwater 'burg that can't even get Appaloosa (epic bitter). For obvious reasons, I'm more drawn to war stories that are set in ancient/medieval times, but aspects of trench warfare go back at least as far as Julius Caesar in Gaul.

As for similar battles our country has been involved in, I wholeheartedly refer you to Band of Brothers, both the HBO miniseries and the book by Stephen Ambrose. Jim and I rewatched the whole thing last weekend. Without question, it is one of the best filmed anything I have ever seen. (Fun fact: I've often wondered if Major Winters is some kind of shirttail relation. My great-grandfather's familial history is muddy and complicated to say the least, so I look at anyone with that last name as a potential relative.)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 02:54 (UTC) ()
You should do the hour thing and cross the border to see this. Seriously, it should be seen on the big screen. And yeah, definitely going to order </i>Band of Brothers</i>, it's been on my list for ages.

Edited at 2008-10-23 02:54 (UTC)
peacey at 2008-10-23 11:51 (UTC) ()
Hell, with the big Money Crunch all in my face, I do all my errands on one day and for the rest of the week, I don't even leave the house if I can help it (in my car, that is). Right now, Appaloosa is the film that tempts me, but I'm unwilling to spend the dough to drive thirty minutes to see it.

As for Band of Brothers, I may be able to give a gal a break. Shoot me your home addy.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 16:49 (UTC) ()
I'll send it when I get home (and you will write it down, y0. :D). Internet not free here, alas. Must. Get. Laptop.

Trust me, though, you will love this film, even if you have to wait until the DVD comes out.
Катерина
_scally at 2008-10-22 17:03 (UTC) ()
You watched it!


*Sighs and begin watching "The Road to Passchendaele" again.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 02:57 (UTC) ()
I haven't seen "The Road to Passchendaele". Hmm.
Катерина
_scally at 2008-10-23 14:38 (UTC) ()
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 16:47 (UTC) ()
OMG yay! I can't watch it until I get home on Sat, but will definitely do that. \s/
Катерина
_scally at 2008-10-23 17:02 (UTC) ()
That video is really nice!

And on a shallow note - the make-up girl was very very lucky. *giggles*
bjohan57
bjohan57 at 2008-10-23 19:06 (UTC) ()
My favourite part was with the First Nations ritual of purification - Paul was inhaling the smoke like someone had rationed his cigarettes. Bless him.
Катерина
_scally at 2008-10-24 20:07 (UTC) ()
Paul was inhaling the smoke like someone had rationed his cigarettes.

I'd be grateful to anyone who did this. :-)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-26 04:31 (UTC) ()
Is he still smoking? *thwaps him*
sam80853
sam80853 at 2008-10-26 04:53 (UTC) ()
I'm not quite sure that he's still smoking. Almost everybody was smoking in this film but Paul never did - makes me wonder.
bjohan57
bjohan57 at 2008-10-26 17:47 (UTC) ()
Oh I'm sure he must be - he has cut down drinking dramatically in recent years, and vices should be tackled one at a time after all LOL.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-27 01:52 (UTC) ()
I've found that a lot of times drinking ties in with smoking, and that when someone is drinking less, they're also smoking less. *crosses fingers*

I love how men seem to go through some kind of mad alcohol-enhanced youth and then they get older and they can't do it anymore. I'm sure it happens with women, but I notice it with guys more.
suchthefangirl
suchthefangirl at 2008-10-23 00:18 (UTC) ()
See, I wanted to see it before, but now I want to see it even more.

I hope it makes it to the states, and more importantly, Southern California...
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 02:56 (UTC) ()
If it doesn't, there's Netflix, but this? Is awesome on the big screen.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 02:56 (UTC) ()
I'm hoping for the indie theatres, even though it's SO not an indie movie. *crosses fingers*
Nos
nos4a2no9 at 2008-10-23 00:26 (UTC) ()
Yay! You saw it! And I'm glad you liked it! You're right re: the scenery and the heavy-handed stuff (such a fine line, Paul!) and, yeah, the scenery was gorgeous. I miss western Alberta! I shall be driving through there in December, and I will take many pictures of snow-capped mountains for you!
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-10-23 02:55 (UTC) ()
I'm thinking Alberta next summer. Wanna go?
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