This one has been sitting in my download folder for ages. I didn’t find the motivation to watch it, due to the unfavourable rating on IMDB (which is a 5.5). Yesterday, my curiosity won from my scepticism, and I decided to load it into VLC player. I was pleasantly surprised. Although it clearly had to do with a small budget, this UK film isn’t that bad. It’s not your run-of-the-mill action-packed war hero movie, but a clever story fueled drama set in the later days of World War II.
The story kicks off in France, when corporal Rob Rains (played by Danny Dyer from ‘Football Factory’ fame) desperatly tries to evade a German army and lead his men to safety. In doing so, he is marked as a deserter and gets sent to military prison. Meanwhile, Ian Fleming (yes, THE Ian Fleming, writer of the James Bond novels) is contemplating on how to capture a piece of new German engineering, which could result in the Allies winning the war.
Fleming suggests a small commando-unit to be put deliberatly behind enemy lines, something which hasn’t been done before. At least, not often. In order to do so, he forms a team under the lead of Major Jones (Sean Bean). He needs to prepare his men to be ready in a few weeks. Rains joins the commando’s due to a misunderstanding, but needs to perform well in order not to get shot by the court marshalls.
The movie itself is quite slow, there’s not a lot of action, but the storytelling, combined with the acting performances of both Dyer and Bean seem to make up for it. Dyer is the righteous but ill-disciplined hero who struggles with his superiors, while Bean is the stern father-figure, harsh in his actions but loving in his own way. They both grow towards each other during the movie, which results in an emotional climax, which I’m not going to explain in too much detail but (spoilers!) you can add another movie to the list in which Sean Bean doesn’t make it to the end.
As I said in the intro, the movie isn’t a big-budgeted Hollywood cash-cow, but a small UK production. It makes up for this with beautiful shots of landscapes instead of explosions. It certainly was a good movie, just don’t expect too much of it. It’s a well told story about the formation of the commando’s and the role which Sir Ian Fleming played in it. It is not entirely based upon the truth, but it does take certain elements and implements it into the story. The ending left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as if they had run out of money and had to find a cheap and easy way to create a believable ending. The whole movie kinda reminded me of ‘Where Eagles Dare’, and that’s a good thing.