- Once (2006)
- All the President's Men (1976)
- Being John Malkovich (1999)
- In the Year of the Pig (1968)
- In The Mood For Love (2000)
- Hole, The (1960)
- Tokyo Story (1953)
- Ocean’s Eleven Blu-Ray Review
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Gilda (1946)
- Rounders (1998)
- Masque of the Red Death, The (1964)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- Fat City (1972)
- Amélie (2001)
- All That Jazz (1979)
- Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
- King of Comedy, The (1983)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
- Sullivan's Travels (1941)
- Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
- Hecklefest Four-Word Film Reviews! August '12 - Week 4
- Playtime (1967)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Haunted Castle, The (1921)
- Last Wave, The (1977)
- Naked Lunch (1991) * Weird and Wacky *
- Phantom Carriage, The (1921)
- Lolita (1962)
Days of Glory (2006)
Genre: War Drama (France, Morocco, Algeria, Belgium)
Starring: Jamel Debbouze (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain), Sami Bouajila
Directed By: Rachid Bouchareb
Overview: A group of North Africans join the French Army to help liberate their motherland, finding their fight against discrimination may well be a harder battle.
Sami Bouajila as the Corporal with a huge chip of injustice on his shoulder and Jamel Debbouze as the man who chooses the softer route for French acceptance are two well-represented sides of a black and white coin. These characters are offset by the more neutral Yassir and Messaoud whose problems with discrimination are far more personal, dealing with love and their invisibility in the corps.
Gore does not seem to be a French trait, so those of you who are worried about having a flashback to darker war days need not worry that you'll be submitted to an opening half-hour of death and destruction, Saving Private Ryan style. You will however appreciate the attempt at historical accuracy in costume and set design, and the occasional exciting action sequence that won't have you throwing up on your neighbour.
When I heard the line "Why, God? WHY!" at the death of a secondary character, I flinched a little, but judging by the reaction of the audience, it seemed to have gone over fairly well, unless of course they were merely awed into submission by such a cliché attempted in this day and age. As expected, there is the occasional dramatic monologue about injustice and earning your place, but it's handled with originality. Rather than whining, these guys let their actions speak for them. In a scene where the North Africans aren't given the tomatoes their French counterparts are given, rather than turning the scene into a touching soapbox moment, it almost gets violent. This isn't about nobler men suffering injustice, it's about real people acting appropriately.
I couldn't help notice that the storytelling formula was so similar to the ever-important and successful Saving Private Ryan. In the beginning of the first act, we have the 'establishing battle scene'. The last act's final battle was almost identical in theme as the final 'Alamo' scene in Private Ryan, with the men facing staggering odds as they wait for reinforcements. In similar fashion we are also dragged through a closing 'and today, 60 years later' perspective that I much would have rather done without. A little too much borrowing if you ask me. Still, what sets this film apart from all others is the core tale, based on a true story, about men facing injustice in their own ranks. The way we see each one suffer in their own way is what's worth watching, definitely.
Overall, this took a more standard French film path, with character development taking a more important role than action, with inner demons being battled more than Nazis. What I took away from this, is how death seemed inconsequential to most of the characters. So many of them planned for a future, considered options, as though this was simply the first step in their quest as becoming true Frenchmen. It's an interesting angle but it invites the lack of combat perspective. After that one battle in Africa, a French officer orates to the North Africans about their blood and toil, their great sacrifice. I was left wondering what I missed. Did these men fight more than two battles? Not that I saw, or was made to infer...
Overall Rating: 80% (Story Before Gory)
First off, nothing beats getting free tickets to an advanced screening. No matter how many free screenings I go to, it still feels nice to be the first to see something you'd have paid for anyways. Unlike such wonderful experiences as Hostage and A Sound Of Thunder, this was indeed a memorable evening, and one film worthy of recommendation, even if you did have to pay.