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My wife and I go out to see a movie every Friday night. Some nights,
I'll tell you, the Picken's Is Slim, as they were when we saw this film
about six months ago (if memory serves). I'd never heard of it. She
didn't want to see any more war films since that miserable, over-hyped
"Pearl Harbor" with the lame love story thrown into the mix. (Cuba
Gooding was the only good part in the movie, and, shock! His
character's part really happened, too! Hollywood take note!) To tell
you the truth, we nearly went to rent something to watch at home, but
as we left, we heard a guy in line talking excitedly about how he'd
seen it three times, and loved it. What the heck. We got back in line.
Their popcorn is better than ours. We went in, not expecting much of
I'll tell you, we were blown away. I came on this site tonight because I've been meaning to write and tell everybody to go see this little film that only ran a week in our local theater. (Buy the DVD!) I have read every comment on this site, and have to LOL at the comments about Mormons. What Mormons? I never even knew it was Mormons until I read it tonight on this site! And so what? It happened to a Mormon guy. It was his story. You expect Catholics to tell it? The other complaints about the story being predictable...what? It sure got us! It was a true story. Don't you get it? If it's true, you can't change what really happened--and what happened was humanity showing it's face. It was right winning out over allegiance.
I'm looking forward to the DVD coming out. I'm getting it and showing it to all my friends. This is film-making the way it should be done. We want to see it more of it.
This movie is worthy of the 14 "Best Picture" awards it has already
won...I hope that it gets a bigger national release.
I live in the San Diego area and I just took my family to see this film tonight, and I have to say that this is one of the most moving films I have seen.
I felt like this was an appropriate movie for my 13 yr old daughter to view (I would not recommend for any younger). The story was told so well that I felt she understood the underlying messages. We were able to have a very long discussion afterward about war and accountability of those who unjustly cause wars. We talked about recognizing the humanity behind the "enemy" soldiers who are, for the most part, just doing their duty to country. These men have wives, children, fathers and mothers who love them just as much as the families of the soldiers on "our" side.
I literally was speechless at the end of the film. The "surprise" ending caught me a little off-guard with its VERY poignant and thought provoking message.
The characters were well developed and I really felt that i could empathize with each man's approach to the situation they were in.
The impact of the movie far exceeded its budget. I was very impressed with the actors (for example, the beautiful French woman...who WAS that?).
I think I was most impressed with the acting of the Medic (The exchange of looks between him and the German prisoner at the end of the movie was classic!).
I read a lot of the reviews prior to watching this film, so I had somewhat of a biased opinion about what I might see. I have to admit, I found myself feeling like the movie exceeded my expectations and was VERY much worth it. I don't buy many movies...this is one I definitely will buy for my private library.
Every once in a while a little movie will come along totally
unheralded, unexpected, under budget, under promoted, but which really
shouldn't be missed.
Saints and Soldiers is such a movie. If you like lots of big budget special effect -loud explosions, -crashing airplanes, -panoramic scenes with thousands of extras slogging through the mud, -if that's what you want in a war movie, skip this one. It doesn't have any of those things.
What it does have, however, is a very effective ensemble cast telling a very compelling story, -a true story, of the Battle of the Bulge. From the utter confusion and tragic consequences of the "Malmedy Masacre", depicted in this movie as more an accident of the fog of war rather than a cold calculated act, to the final climactic battle scenes, this movie shows world war II as it most likely really was. A very personal war for each soldier involved.
My uncle was a soldier who lost a leg in Europe during that time and as he related experiences of battle, he always made it perfectly clear that war was always a very personal thing. You were doing everything to survive. Your enemy was doing the same thing, and somehow battles were eventually won or lost. The average G.I. didn't know, or much care what was going on over the hill, or on a grand scale. He only knew he and a few of his buddies were being shot at by a few of the enemy and they had to shoot back or perish. It's all about living another day.
This movie conveys those sentiments very clearly. It is about daily survival without the grandiose trappings. You really wind up caring about each of these characters. It is well worth seeing. Especially if you were a soldier -or know a soldier, -or just want to know more about being a soldier. In my opinion it will go down in history as one of the more realistic war movies ever made.
This is a very simple story, told in a very simple way.A group of
soldiers escape capture and fight their way to rejoin friendly forces.
Nothing new or unusual there. However Ryan Little has managed to tell
this simple story with a great sense of compassion and feeling. So much
so that at times I had to remind myself that this was a story of war.
Little manages to do what many others have failed in the modern war
movie, let the story take preference over special effects and shock
The largely unheralded cast turn in steady, rather than spectacular, performances. Yet they work well within the over all feel of the movie, showing that war is fought by, in the most part, ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances. At times the pace was a little labored, particularly at the farmhouse. The relationship with the mother and child seemed to develop too quickly, somehow become pivotal almost instantly. This aside, character development occurs at a natural and easy pace. All these men are people we will meet in our own lives, bringing the story even closer to the audience.
This is one of the most satisfying war movies that I have seen for a long while. Without the big budgets and extreme violence, this little gem delivers a fantastic reward for those who take the time to watch.
In my own opinion, this is a triumph for war movies. It's just as intense as any war movie, but doesn't contain all the blood and guts our society today gives us. It has enough to convince the audience that it's all real and then brings you into the atmosphere by the fantastic acting. (Kudos to all actors involved) This is also a low-budget film, which helps you appreciate it even more because there are no signs of that small budget. This is just as intense as pretty much any war movie you will ever see, but you don't have to worry about it being too violent or bloody. It's just as compelling because it puts you inside the eyes of the soldiers themselves. I hope that all who have access to see this movie take advantage of it because this is a side of cinema that isn't seen often.
The comment posted on the main page link certainly had an axe to grind against mormons. In fact the film itself never at all mentions the LDS church and for all we know Deacon could have been a baptist. That is all besides the point. The film takes us where a war film has never been before, the religious implications. And it is not overtly preachy. Somehow with under $1 million dollars the director has made a film that looks like an epic hollywood war film, complete with handheld cameras and a few war buddy cliche's. But what seperates this film from the pack is its main character, a devout religious sharpshooter, shellshocked from a raid gone bad, trying to make moral sense of what is going on. The film is also a great war film, and impecably accurate historically. The only sign that the film is low budget is its musical score, which at some times is a bit obtruse, but the acting is superb, and the directions is excellent. 9/10
Saints and Soldiers is a quite powerful movie. It has a very human
side, although the idea is not very unique.
A movie about 5 brave allied soldiers fighting their way back to base from behind enemy lines, during WW II.
Each of the characters embodies a different human typology. There is a subtle religious side, also.
The movie has a good visual narrative construction. It is worth being seen.
The main idea is that, behind the soldier uniform there is a human being.
FOR more then a year I have waited to see Ryan Little's SAINTS & SOLDIERS.
Back in the fall of 2002, KSL-TV did a featurette on Mormon filmakers and
showed location scenes being shot in Alpine, Utah of a film with a World War
II setting. It seemed like an ambitious undertaking for a low budget
filmmaker. As time went on and the film was completed, word came out that
the film was very good. Instead of bring it immediately to local theatres,
Excel (the distributor for the film), began showing it at film festivals all
over the place -- and it hit home with film fans, winning numerous awards.
Today, Friday, August 6th, 2004, the film opened it theatrical run here in Utah. Now I have had the opportunity to see the film for myself and can say that it is EXCEPTIONAL! Uncle Sam invited me to join them for 2 years back in the early 1960's. I was glad to serve my country and was even more gratful that I did not have to actual fight in a shooting war. Going through basic training and later, holding my breath as the Cuban missile crisses came and went, I wonder what I would do if called upon to fire with intent to kill. I'm glad that I was not put to that kind of test. As I experienced SAINTS & SOLDIERS, watching a young soldier of faith, who had previously served his church as a missionary in Berlin, face the reality of killing those whom he had come to love and respect, it touched my heart in a way no other war film has ever done. The film is very well acted, tense, moving and thought provoking. In short, this is a film that I will strongly recommend, will return again to see in the theatre, and will certainly purchase when released on DVD.
Congratulations to all involved!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nothing but clichés really. DD (French for Deadly Dull).
There's a cynical New Yorker who learns near the end that not all Germans are bad. He has a secret.
There's a young ex-missionary religious type who hates to kill but is a great shot with a rifle. He has a secret.
There's a tough but kind-hearted sergeant.
There's a French woman with a young daughter. They live in a stone cottage in the woods. Afraid at first, she comes to love the Americans and gives them some bread.
There's a polite but unctuous Brit.
There's a gent from Louisiana who likes to say "whatever" some 50 years before it came into common usage. He spends part of his time asking the Brit for a cigarette and being turned down. He then saves the Brit but is wounded. The Brit puts a cigarette in his mouth and, yup, he dies. The Brit cries. He's learned to be more human.
There are some sadistic Germans. But there's one good one. Just one.
There's no drama, no tension, no interesting action. The Americans are hidden in an old building. Germans come and camp out above them for a while. It should have been nerve-wracking. Instead, you feel nothing. It isn't even interesting.
When there's a revelation, music comes up and the character stares at the camera for a bit. So that you won't miss it.
The acting wasn't the worst. The story and direction are a joke. The worst episode of "Combat" beats this hands-down.
Many films succeed outside the context of Hollywood hype. This one provides several messages competently executed by new talent, and without the special effects so commonly packaged by Tinseltown. Dialog and talent hold one's attention in a real-world interpretation of the Malmedy massacre and it's aftermath in WW2 Belgium. The tagline, 'A Time For Heroes' says much and it's more than appropriate for our time since the definition of 'hero' has been broadened by current events and uncommon courage. Lighting, sound, location, editing, and inventive writing make this a weekend wonder if you're seeking a story of principled men in desperate circumstances. Not unlike John Sturges' films.
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