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Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan, warrior and wolf, leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. Their motto: "We forgot to take prisoners, Captain." At war's end, the unit goes to Bucharest, where Conan tries to keep them out of trouble, defends them when they behave as warriors, and finds he's unsuited for peacetime. His friendship with Norbert, a teacher turned lieutenant, is tested when Norbert accepts a job as court-martial prosecutor because he's learned that Conan will be facing charges and he wants to protect his friend. When they are sent to the Russian border to fight Bolsheviks, Conan is back in his element and Norbert is off the hook. Written by
Nicely shot, very well played, visually impressive but lenghty
This film is about how the military experience can transform a person, and no, it's not about the army making men out of boys.
Conan leads a group of trench cleaners, who, in reality, were thugs and pathological killers who enjoyed butchering their enemies after infiltrating their lines at night.
Problems emerge when the war is over, but some of these men cannot deal with their wartime homicidal pathologies and keep doing what they were trained for and mount a heist which results in killings.
Conan then has to choose between his camaraderie for his men and his responsibilities as an army officer.
This film has many originalities, especially in its war scenes and, I must admit, the whole thing is entertaining.
It's lengthy at times, but Torreton gives a great performance and really deserved the Cesar for best leading role that he got that year.
It is, in my knowledge, the only film which treats of that very particular post-World War I episode, when the "Reds" tried to invade Bulgaria and the French came to stop the expansion of what was not yet know as the Soviet block.
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