Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movie Review: Joyeux Noel

Period: Christmas 1914 - WW1 - Western Front

Synopsis: The movie is based on a true story of a mass fraternization between the French, German, and Scottish soldiers at Christmas time in 1914. It's unusual in the fact that it covers the three sides involved in the happenings with equal thought. There are no real bad guys in this movie.

Overall opinion: I really liked this movie, despite a handful of distracting flaws. It starts out interestingly enough, with school children reciting nationalistic poems that demonize each one's enemies in WW1. I thought that really did well to set the overall tone of the movie. I do warn any would be watchers that this movie doesn't have tons of bloody action, but when you get to the end, you'll be glad that it doesn't. It does have the European "indy" sheen, but I personally don't find that a bad thing.

The distracting flaws in the movie aren't major, but they didn't add anything either. The biggest one is the Anna Sorensen/Pvt. Sprink storyline, but my only real complaint is that it slowed the movie down, and interrupted the steady pace of the main story. The characters were good for the story, but they could have been cast a bit more thoughtfully. There is a small sex scene, but it's not too overdone but it gives this movie a "French" PG-13 rating.

Other than that, the movie is a good watch for a evening.

Good reenactor film?: This movies does cover a period of WW1 that isn't portrayed very much. That makes this movie a bit rare, considering WW1 doesn't get much play at all. The uniforms are all pretty much suspect, but they're at least representative of the period of the war. Except for the Germans. I think their uniforms were more mid-war looking, and I'd be willing to extend the same thought to the Scots, but I can't be too sure. The uniforms don't add to the movie, but they don't take away, either.

How does it stack up?: The movie is solid, with a very meaningful storyline that has been covered in many ways, in many movies, but not with any WW1 flick I've seen. It does have some cliches, but these are well manageable for a forgiving viewer. It does make the point that there is (or could be) humanity in war, and that everyone is similar despite our backgrounds. It's a good movie deserving of a place in any war movie collection.

If you want to see about more movies, check out my old blog, "War Moovies".

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