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Film Review: ‘Five Came Back’

Film Review: ‘Five Came Back’
World War II taught the world to be distrustful of propaganda, as the public came to realize just how effectively cinema could be used to spread anti-Semitism and a lock-step, sieg-heil conformity to demagogues. And yet, among the many insights of Mark Harris’ richly researched book “Five Came Back” — which fleshed out an oft-overlooked chapter of Hollywood history while shading a far more over-scrutinized one in the vast military history canon — was director William Wyler’s view that “all film is propaganda.” Like a loaded weapon, the power and world-changing potential of a camera is all in who’s holding it, and where that person chooses to point it.

Now, Harris’ terrific book has inspired a glossy, if somewhat snooze-inducing Netflix miniseries, “Five Came Back,” directed by Laurent Bouzereau. Simultaneously released in New York and Los Angeles theaters for an Oscar-qualifying run (offering fodder for those awards prognosticators looking for
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