Category Archives: War films

Forgetting the War

I’ve just seen the trailer below for a new documentary called Almost Sunrise about two US veterans and their attempts to move on from their experiences in Iraq as they attempt to readjust to being civilians

 

The film’s website tells us that Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson served in Iraq, and since their return home have both struggled with depression, to the extent that they contemplated suicide. In order to try and master their fates, the two embark on a massive 2,700 mile walk across the country from Wisconsin to California, “in order to reflect on their haunting experiences of war and to ultimately, save themselves.”

Military personnel struggling on their return from conflict is not new, and their battles with reconciling what they did when in action with the moral code of a society removed from war have been studied before. But it can never be highlighted enough. This, like anything else, takes time to heal. And sometimes time alone is not enough.

The subject of transition into civilian life from the military is something I’ve worked on and highlighted before here, but it does seem to attract far more attention in the US than in the UK. Why is this? Certainly one major part of it is the cultural difference between the US and the UK, and the place the veteran has in our societies – and the questions about what we as civilians owe them, if anything, in return for their service.

Also,  I can’t help but notice that this seems to add to the latest trend in film-making when it comes to war films; that the focus is now more on the legacy of the war at home after the conflict for those who endured it, rather than the war itself.

It looks like an amazingly powerful film, and I’ll certainly try and track this film down from the UK.

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‘Chosen Men’ (2016)

I have a real interest in the study of veterans, veteran culture, and the process of transition from military to civilian life. So I’m pleased to have found the following  trailer for a new documentary on the British military and the transition back into civilian life, due to be released in the UK in 2016.

The producer and director is former Rifleman Aaron Sayers who, having served in the Army until 2002, has direct knowledge of the transition process, and so is well placed to comment and document the sometimes complicated path from army life to civvy street that veterans can experience.

The title Chosen Men refers back to the special terms used to describe Riflemen in Wellington’s army in the Peninsular who were particular soldiers of merit that could be trusted to lead a half platoon in the absence of an officer or an NCO – so effectively  Lance Corporal.

What the trailer below, and find out more about the film here. I’ll certainly be seeking it out on its release!

 

 

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The BBC’s new War and Peace adaptation looks pretty good!

The BBC have just released the trailer for this winter’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace. A six-part mini-series, it has been made by BBC Wales and directed by Tom Harper (of Peaky Blinders fame). With an all-star cast, including Paul Dano, Lily James, Jim Broadbent, and Gillian Anderson, it has all the ingredients to be a smash.

But can Tolstoy’s epic narrative sweep be translated to the small screen satisfactorily? The trailer suggests it can!

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UAVs on screen

I’ve just seen the trailer for the upcoming (in Britain at least) war film Good Kill, which focuses on the experience of an American UAV pilot in the US’ War on Terror.

While UAVs – or drones – have been seen in plenty of films before, this is amongst the first movies to put them centre stage and confront what they mean in modern military operations.

As you can see from the trailer below, it looks as if it will cover the psychological impact of these operations on those who conduct them (as could be expected from the producers of The Hurt Locker), as well as make comment on the ethical and moral dimension of fighting wars remotely.

One to be added to the list of upcoming films!

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Russell Crowe’s New Australian World War 1 Epic ‘The Water Diviner’

Whilst it has been released in different parts of the world already, next week sees the UK release of Russell Crowe’s latest film ‘The Water Diviner.’ Set in the aftermath of Gallipoli, it follows one Australian man’s quest to find out what happened to his sons who, like 416,809 other young Australians, enlisted and left home to fight for Britain and the Empire in the First World War.

You can watch the trailer below, and the film is in UK cinemas from next week.

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Bradley Cooper stars in ‘American Sniper’

The trailer for Bradley Cooper’s biopic of Chris Kyle is here.

It’s different from many of the war-film trailers we’ve seen so far this year (think Fury), as it’s more a single scene playing out. In the film, directed by Clint Eastwood, Cooper plays Chris Kyle, credited as being the most successful sniper in American military history. According to his book American Sniper, Kyle had 160 confirmed kills (which was from 255 claimed kills).

This film will no doubt resonate more with cinema-goers following Kyle’s murder at a shooting range in Texas in February 2013.

Check out the trailer below:

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The trailer for Brad Pitt’s latest war movie is here…

The trailer for Brad Pitt’s new war movie, Fury, has gone live on the internet.

Set in Europe in the closing months of the Second World War, Fury depicts a 5-man Sherman tank crew battling to both win the war, and stay alive.

Co-starring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Michael Peña, from the trailer it seems Fury promises the full mix of stunning visuals, terrific special effects and maddening cliches that always seem to occur when Hollywood goes to war against the Nazis.

That said, I’ll be sure to go see it when this hits cinemas in November 2014!

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June 25, 2014 · 12:13 pm

From the People Who Brought You ‘Restrepo’…

This month sees the release of the follow up to the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, a film about the war in Afghanistan. Made by the same team that produced Restrepo (though the British photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed whilst covering to conflict in Libya in 2011), Korengal features footage cut from the original, whilst also conducting follow up interviews with some of those soldiers featured as they look back on the conflict. The impact of the war on these men is clear, both the negative and the positive, in particular the loss of comradeship and the impossibility of living such an adrenaline-fuelled life ever again; at one point, one soldier says: “I’d go back there if I could.”

The veteran journalist Sebastian Junger, whose book War was a triumph in story-telling, has once again translated combat experience to film, helping the civilian world understand what it is those men in uniform do, how they endure, and how it continues to shape them even if they’re thousands of miles away from a particular place. Physical distance doesn’t always equate to mental perspective

Restrepo was genuinely one of the greatest films on men in war that I’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it, and then go watch Korengal. I can’t wait to see it.

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