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Regimental Sergeant-Major Lauderdale is a spit-and-polish, by-the-book disciplinarian, who seems like a 19th Century anachronism in a sleepy peacetime African outpost of the modern British Commonwealth. He is ridiculed behind his back by his subordinate NCO's and must play host to a liberal female MP making a tour of the base. However, when an ambitious African officer, who happens to be a protege of the MP's, initiates a coup d'etat against Captain Abraham, the lawful African commandant, the resourceful RSM uses all his military training to arm his men despite being under house arrest and rescue the wounded commandant from a certain firing squad. When Lt. Boniface, the leader of the mutiny surrounds the sergeants mess with two Bofors guns, it looks like Lauderdale will have to surrender unless he again disobeys orders and takes the initiative. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The personal weapon used by the British is the Sterling sub machine gun which replaced the Sten in the British Army in 1953. This weapon is held with the left hand on the barrel and never the magazine or housing. Holding the magazine is a throwback to its predecessor, the Sten. The experienced senior members of the Mess are holding it incorrectly whilst the most inexperienced among them (Private Wilkes) holds it correctly and naturally. See more »
I'd never even heard of Guns at Batasi before but I was amazed to find that it's a superlative film. I was expecting standard British stiff-upper-lip fare that the British did so well in the 1950s and '60s, but what I wasn't expecting is that a film I'd never even heard of rivals and even exceeds top-notch British dramas like Sidney Lumet's 'The Hill'.
The film stands squarely on Richard Attenborough's pitch-perfect performance as a Regimental Sergeant Major - the performance of a lifetime, especially when you consider that Attenborough is the complete opposite of the character he plays in this film - in reality he's soft-spoken and unassuming, yet the character he's playing is not at all those things. To say that this role was a stretch somehow doesn't do the performance justice - Attenborough literally becomes the RSM, and every moment he's on screen is incredible. Some reviewers assume that his performance is over-the-top, but I can assure everyone that British NCOs do act like this - or at least they did in the 1960s
I had the honour of knowing one of them.
Not that Attenborough is doing it all alone - the other performances are perfect too, as is the direction. The fact that the film was made in a studio in England makes you realise what a great job a truly great crew can do for a film - there's no way you'd think this movie wasn't made in Africa.
Altogether a fantastic movie - probably the best new film (new to me anyway) I've seen in the last two years. This blows everything else out of the water.
Oh, and for those worried that it's a war film - definitely not. It's a drama set in a military barracks, but psychological drama is what we have here, and unlike a lot of those kinds of films this one has a heart and a sense of humour. Don't miss this one!
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