|Index||7 reviews in total|
Overall I'm a bit disappointed. I thought this would be an interesting
period piece, and I'm a fan of (looking at) Lyndsy Fonseca, who I think
is the most beautiful actress out there.
While watching this film I kept having to remind myself that it was filmed 5 years ago. Perhaps during this time, Lyndsy Fonseca has gotten a ton of experience from filming Nikita, Kick Ass, etc. and took lots of acting classes. Honestly I thought her acting was stiff and basically poor in this. The beginning scenes were especially tough to watch.
Getting past that, Eric Stoltz carried the film and delivered a believable performance. I think the supporting cast let him down. Also I wish they had developed some of the story lines of these characters a little bit better. I will say I think the kids in the film did a good job.
I was looking forward to seeing the depiction of a US POW camp. After seeing the film, I question their depiction of the prison camp. The real Fort McCoy was/is huge. There were 4000+ POW's there. From this film, you'd think it was a small place where everyone knew each other. The budget probably made it necessary to slim things down quite a bit.
For those of us who grew up in this era, this movie was a very lovely
trip down memory lane. As others have commented, the acting in this
movie was not the best, but the attempt to recreate the era was quite
realistic and exceptionally well done. The living conditions, the
technology, the social mores and the nature of life at the time were
very accurate well depicted.
I personally served at Ft McCoy and can vouch for the authenticity of the site and the facilities depicted in the film. This is a film that preserves an important historic story about a special place, like many other such places in WWII, and a unique group of people serving their county in whatever way they could and trying at the same time to preserve some sense of normalcy. I highly recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really hoped this was going to be a good movie but was really disappointed and surprised at just how bad it was, Stolz's acting was about the only good thing in the movie. His anguish over not being able to serve his country was believable but his co-stars (Connor) acting was just ridiculous and over the top. The US Army fort seemed more like a Boy Scout Camp with no discipline, security or any military bearing whatsoever. Whoever made this movie had no idea of what the military is like. There were so many things going on, its like the creator of this mess wanted to cram all their statements and beliefs in one movie with none actually being explored in depth. The topic of POW's in the USA during WW2 could have been explored with this film nicely yet the picture we were given is silly and very inaccurate. I have family who were around the German POW's in Opelika AL in WW2 and according to them, this movie is junk and I have to agree.
The story is a little simple and sentimental, but I didn't have any
expectations. I think the cast does a good job with the material that
doesn't have enough time to fully flesh out the characters. Eric Stoltz
is good too; I never really understood why he didn't get bigger roles.
Maybe, his roles will get a second wind when he doesn't look 13. It's a
little bit Leave It To Beaver, so is probably popular with the
I found the movie randomly on Netflix but I clicked on it because I was a kid on Ft. McCoy as well. There were only about 4 kids on the post in 1978, and I do remember a 1950's purity of living there. We lived so far apart we never saw each other except when a jeep picked us up to take us into the schools in Sparta. The POW fences and towers remained, but it was a ghost town except in the summer when reservists showed up to bomb the ranges into oblivion. Years later, after we left, they would turn the barracks, not the compounds into a camp for Cuban "refugees." The movie captured a certain feel to the place that I liked...beautiful woods, Squaw lake, and some old fashioned values that remained on army posts into the 80's at least. It was a fun place to be a kid but the movie only has time to give you a glimpse of that.
The setup: Stoltz moves with his family to become a barber for the
American army's POW camp at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, in the summer of
1944. Embittered that he cannot fight, he must take a stand when a Nazi
officer threatens his wife.
The verdict: It's an important film. It will either surprise or disappoint you, depending on what your expectations are. Stoltz proves he's still got some ham in the old acting can. Acting is all-around good. The first 30 minutes are is a lot of fun and rather cleverly made. My only problem with the film was the supporting cast. 7 out of 10.
A first-rate, flawless film worth going out of your way to see. It's all there--an engaging story with believable characters and fine acting, a piece of history worth knowing about, a perfectly-detailed recreation of place and time--and it's a true story! Granddaughter Kate Connor has lovingly and unflinchingly brought her family back to life, and you and your family will thank her for it. This film deserves wide, mainscreen distribution and will make some smart person a lot of money. Americana, a happy ending, and a G rating! And this from a guy who would usually avoid a film with those parameters! (Seen at 2011 Newport Beach Filmfest)(reviewer has no personal or financial connection to the filmmakers)
Fort McCoy is one of those smaller films that pretty much slipped through the cracks of audience exposure but was deserving of more attention. Stars Eric Stoltz and Kate Connor give very decent performances along with the entire cast. And because the film is based on a true story related to Connor, its significance is amplified. It's probably a safe bet that few people know much about WWII POW camps that operated in the U.S., and that in itself is enlightening. It's also beautifully filmed and well produced for its relatively modest budget. Even the score is well done. Connor proves to be a very competent actress we should hope to see more of. It's also nice to see Cameron Manheim in a modest role.
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