Sunday, 1 May 2011

Review - Days of Glory (2006 - Dir. Rachid Bouchareb)

It's hard to understand why this is such an enjoyable film. On the face of it, it's a relatively standard war film, based on the exploits of North African soldiers drafted into the French army to liberate France in the Second World War.

The first three quarters of the film tells the story of four of these Algerian men, from enlisting, through first combat and detailing the relationships they develop. It's flat, standard fare enlivened only by the laudable but at times clumsy and less than subtle illustration of the various inequalities and exploitations of the North African soldiers compared to their French counterparts. The acting especially by the likes of Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila is understated and high quality without ever being spectacular.

However, in the final quarter of the film everything becomes much clearer, more vivid and real, as we suddenly realise that we really care about these characters and what is about to happen to them. There's a moment when the excellent score kicks in, which reflects this perfectly. The closing scenes again reflect the uncomplicated storytelling style but are much more powerful in hammering home the inequalities that still exist for the men who fought these battles. Maybe it's because this is based on a true story or maybe it's just because there's a story worth telling but this is a memorable film where the story is the star.


If you like this you could also try:
Kokoda - 39th Batallion, Assembly, Saints and Soldiers

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