An unrelentingly grim and emotional Korean War drama, Sniper's Ridge is a tidy piece of work, well-directed by John Bushelman, it gives a nice sense of how confining war can be; accustomed as moviegoers are to vast beaches and endless jungles, this film paints a more accurate portrait of war, as small, remote and cramped, with men scurrying in and out of ditches and bunkers like rats.
The film is as much as character study as anything else, as it follows the unraveling of an heroic, reluctant and homesick soldier on the last day of the war. There are also parallel stories concerning, among others, a vindictive officer, a compassionate career dog-face, and a sergeant who has lost his nerve. The sergeant is the most interesting and tragic of the bunch, as he was once a genuine hero, for reasons he didn't understand, and is now afraid of being killed, and again doesn't comprehend what's going on. For all this, he remains highly likeable and sympathetic throughout the course of the film.
Jack Ging, as the reluctant hero, is excellent, breathing life into what in lesser hands might have been a thoroughly obnoxious if at times admirable character. Stanley Clements is suburb and wholly believable as a two-fisted tough guy. As the sergeant, Douglas Henderson is magnificent, as he plays, with great dignity, a man haunted by ambivilance and fear, yet in whom we sense a fine if wounded individual.
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