Sunday, September 10, 2006

If there was no such thing as war, they’d have to invent it so they could keep making films about it

On Saturday night, Wife and I were channel-hopping after a late dinner, wondering if there was anything worth watching or whether we should just have an early night. Because we were tired, that is. And yes, I know it's not great to go to bed straight after eating, but sometimes, when you're tired and you've had a late dinner, what can you do?

We soon stumbled onto a film called Dresden, which had just started on UK cable/satellite channel E4. Or perhaps it was More4. One of them, anyway.

I asked Wife, "Shall we watch this?" This seemingly innocuous question was raised for two reasons: 1. It was more than 3 hours long, including ad breaks; 2. Wife's mother is a Dresden native, and was about 8 years old at the time of the bombings, so it is a subject quite close to home. She replied, "Is it going to make me sad?"

This personal angle aside, the historical elements of this epic, award-winning, made-for-TV movie are good enough reasons to watch it.

The plot: It's 1945, the end of World War II. "The war is over; the Germans just won't accept it," we are told. A Brit soldier crash lands in Dresden and is found by a young nurse. An unlikely love story blossoms. Meanwhile, Britain prepares to bomb holy fuck out of one of the most beautiful cities in northern Europe.

Any good: The story moves along at a good pace and never seems to drag. Although the love story is a touch implausible, given what's going on, all of the other stuff keeps you interested. They seem to have used some stock footage, too, which is nice. And there is no clear delineation between good guys and bad guys, since we are dealing with civilians for the most part. The coda was a nice touch.

Numbers: I give this film 65 out of 100.


Blogger Adam said...

Thanks for the link and info - quite interesting, while watching it I also thought Deckard could be a replicant, but thought against it - I also read that in the book it is made quite obvious that he has in no way a replicant - and tho this film is quite different, I just transitioned that belief over.

It is, to me, a glaring hole though - I can still enjoy the film, but if I show it to someone and they pick up on it - I won't be able to give them an actual logical explanation, and I'd hate to just say "Um, well - they just messed up"

10 September, 2006 18:21  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

My grandad had friends in the RAF. They reckoned Dresden wasn't necessary.

10 September, 2006 19:01  
Blogger ems said...

Hadn't heard of this film. My German oral, when studying in France, was on the topic of the bombing of Dresden. Prompted by articles commenting on the statue to Bomber Harris being erected in his home town just after I had come back from a visit to the former East Germany, Dresden included.

10 September, 2006 19:43  
Blogger Adam said...

The highlight of my blogging career at the moment

10 September, 2006 21:24  
Anonymous ramo said...

War movies are interesting. I guess because they show those hard days of sacrifice that brought today's freedom. Thats how it is supposed to be seen. So I agree, they can even fight a war to make a movie.

10 September, 2006 21:35  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

I saw "Dresden" too, and have just finished watching "Enigma" - both the same in that they are wartime thriller/love stories I suppose.

That's what I cannot cope with. Love and War. The action sort of always stops for the soppy bits and for some reason I always get very bored. Why do we have to have wimmin in gutsy parts.. in genre war movies of the forties and fifties they are mere ciphers and all you see is the men going home to find they are dead or shagging the spiv. It detracts from the action to have them being real.

I say this a bit tongue in cheek, but suddenly seeing a nekkid lady in a war movie somewhat distracts me.

I thought both these movies had messy plots or one dimensional characters.. Dresden, all that stuff about morphine which looked tacked on by a re-write man and in Enigma it was the overwhelming discomfort of the leading man who looked througout as if he had shat himself.

Tell me I am wrong or not appreciating something. I am confused by my own reactions sometimes.

11 September, 2006 01:23  
Blogger Gardenia said...

hmmm - maybe the love story in the midst of war is the hope that keeps everyone going through the horror?

11 September, 2006 04:49  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

4D: That seemed to be one of the messages of the film, too. People do crazy shit in wartime.

Ems: I've never been, but I would like to one day, especially now that the destroyed Church of Our Lady has been rebuilt. It looks amazing inside.

Ramo: War films are fascinating, yes, and it's for exactly that reason that they'd have to invent war, huh?

WW: You just can't get past the nekkidness, eh? Funny. As I said, the love story was unconvincing, but I guess they feel they need to hinge these stories around one specific story of human interest, à la Titanic. Why? I don't think you're missing something; perhaps you are just too intelligent for mainstream filmmaking. I think most people probably are.

Diana: Perhaps so. As I said to WW above, it's merely a pivot on which the film rests, really, isn't it? But yes, it's also a sign of hope, and even of unity in the face of adversity, I guess.

11 September, 2006 11:55  

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