Unlikely friends in a melting pot of confusion. Simon Murray fights for the French Foreign Legion. Pascal Dupont fights for himself. War torn men question honour, hope, morality...because you can desert everything...except yourself.
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Michelle Van Der Water,
Rebuffed in love and uncertain of life, Simon is the story of a young Englishman's physical and spiritual journey during Algeria's battle for independence from France. Driven by romantic illusion to join the French Foreign Legion, Simon learns what it truly means to be a hero. A timeless, coming of age story set against the epic, sweeping landscape of North Africa. Written by
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Many people have asked why I joined the French Foreign Legion. And there is no clear answer. I was going nowhere is a hurry. I hadn't told anyone the English Army turned me down. I was fresh out of ideas. So I went in search of a different destiny.
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Sometimes it helps to step outside of the familiar. In "Deserter", my American perspective gets broadened by looking at an Arab country through the eyes of a young Brit placed within the French Foreign Legion. With my own country removed entirely from the scene, I thus start with no default "side" here. The movie does start off following the FFL, but of course expands before too long to show us (some of) the Arab side as well.
I'd like to know, but don't know, how true to reality the movie is. Most of what we're shown seemed very plausible to me. A few bits did feel "Hollywoodized" but perhaps were reasonable distillations of multiple events.
What made the biggest impression on me was the discomfort of Murray as he came face to face with the inexorable underlayment of the whole situation: that military occupation is fundamentally wrong because it is not consensual. That's a good lesson for everyone.
I'm surprised this only has a 5.3. I wouldn't call it a great movie, but it's well done and involving and deserves a higher score.
My biggest complaint is that the accents were hard for me to understand, especially near the beginning. With the mixture of different national origins of the characters and some of the dialog being in French with the rest in (mostly) French-accented English, a lot of the early lines were lost on me. I almost stopped watching after about 10 minutes due to this. I'm glad I didn't.
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