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.