“What, will you turn into a pumpkin or something? [laughs]” – Nicholas McGrade
Number of Times Seen – Twice (13 Jul 2011 and 11 Apr 2019)
Brief Synopsis – After escaping from a POW camp, a British soldier returns home and after being recruited to help other prisoners to find a way to freedom, he falls in love with the girlfriend of a fellow prisoner which causes things in his life to spiral out of control.
My Take on it – This is a film that I saw almost 8 years ago and didn’t recall much about it besides the fact that Damien Lewis starred in it and played a character very different from the ones I was use to seeing him play.
The premise of the film is presented quite well but unfortunately it drags along too much and at a run time of 181 minutes, it feels too long because things fail to move at a comfortable pace.
The cats of this film is superb and both Damien Lewis and Tom Hardy play their respective roles quite well.
Lewis does stand out but nit for reasons one would expect.
His character is a 180 degree turn from the kind of nice guy roles he is usually cast in and it’s nice to see his range here.
The story is split between two locations; England and Germany and while spending time with these characters, we get to learn so much about their ways of life in both places which are so different.
The scenes set in England are more eyeopening because we get to see so much about the effort on the side of the Allies to try and find new and innovative methods and ways to hep prisoners held captive in Germany.
The scenes in the German prison itself are much more chaotic and the lack of real character development between most of the prisoners works against this film since they all mostly feel like caricatures and it’s hard to acre about any of them.
They miss the opportunity to make the characters more memorable like in many of the POW films of the past which knew how to effectively give us so many interesting and diverse characters.
Unfortunately, the story as presented here doesn’t flow well enough and they waste the potential that this movie has to be even more poignant.
Bottom Line – Interesting premise that drags along a bit too much and at 3 hours, this film feels too long. The cast is superb with Lewis and Hardy both playing their respective lead roles quite well. Liked seeing Lewis play a role very different from the kinds he usually is given to portray. The story manages to spend enough time in both England and Germany with these characters as we learn so much about their ways of life. The British scenes are more eye opening because we get a clear picture of how they were trying to find more and more ways to help prisoners held in Germany discover new methods and avenues to try and escape. The scenes in the prison itself seem a bit too chaotic and the characters are mostly not developed enough for us to care about any of them like was done in some of the more famous POW escape films of the past. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t flow as well as it probably could have.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – One of the reasons Colditz was suitable to be refitted as a POW camp was that it was built on an outcropping of solid rock, making tunneling almost impossible. After serving as a general POW camp in 1939, it was later converted into a high security camp for recidivist escapees, the only amp in which guards outnumbered prisoners, the majority of the which were initially British, French, Poles, and Dutch. All in all, 130 prisoners escaped the grounds but depending on the source referenced, only 30, 31, or 32 of these were ultimately “home runs.” (From IMDB)
Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)
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