Five desperate French soldiers during The Battle of the Somme shoot themselves, either by accident or with purpose, in order to be invalided back home. Having been "caught" a court-martial convenes and determines punishment to be banishment to No Man's Land with the objective of having the Germans finish them off. In the process of telling this tale each man's life is briefly explored along with their next of kin as Methilde, fiancée to one of the men, tries to determine the circumstances of her lover's death. This task is not made any easier for her due to a bout with polio as a child. Along the way she discovers the heights and depths of the human soul. Written by
The "Gare d'Orsay" station in Paris (today the "Musée d'Orsay") is shown in the movie. We see and hear a steam train in this station. In fact, there never were steam trains in this station, as the trains were hauled by electric locomotives in the tunnel from Gare d'Orsay to Gare d'Austerlitz.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet learned this after the movie was released. See more »
This is one of those times that a rating system breaks down. I gave this film a "10" only because there were no "20's" available.
This film, in its own way, seems to be able to fire on those same diverse cylinders that William Shakespeare so often did. It's a light and airy comedy. It's the bitterest of tragedies. It's a beautiful romance. It's an unfolding mystery. At it's heart it is a film of war. War, in all its boiling chaos, touches on all those experiences and more.
When I left the theater I was both elated and depressed. My elation came from having just had such a pure cinematic experience. My depression came from glancing at the marquee and reminding myself that I'll have to survive on the sort of cinema half-life provided by the pablum that normally makes it to the screen. Every now and again it's great to be reminded just how good a movie can be.
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