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Set in Northern Italy during the last embers of the war, the beleaguered vanguard of Axis forces suffer daily bombings and the constant threat of attack from local partisans. Tempers begin to flare between these 'allies' as they await their impending doom. Written by
Essentially a remake of "The Fallen" - but it's a huge improvement
When I sat down to watch "Last Letters from Monte Rosa" or "The Final Sacrifice" as was the title I watched it under, I had no idea that it was a film made by Ari Taub, the director of "The Fallen". However, as the film progressed, I began to get an unnerving sense of deja vu. I had seen this all before, I thought to myself, but where? The give away came with the wine deal between the American soldier and the Italian partisan gangster. And I knew right then that something had to give, as many scenes were reminiscent, or completely derived, from "The Fallen"
an awfully bland and boring film made by Ari Taub in 2004. So "Last
Letters from Monte Rosa" is essentially a remake of that low-budget war film, and boy, is it a huge improvement! Ari Taub deserves a lot of credit and praise for this project, which is described as being seven years in the making. Fair play to him for sticking to his guns, and finally making the picture he wanted. However, what unnerves me a bit is that no where is it mentioned that "Last Letters from Monte Rosa" is a film completely scavenged from an earlier film by the director. Hardly anyone has even mentioned this (They probably aren't even aware of it, actually). It's as if he has completely discredited that earlier film. I don't blame him, but still. It doesn't seem right.
The plot is exactly the same as "The Fallen", and many of the same actors reprise their roles (Hence, it is a remake!) - Set in Italy in 1944, the film follows the hardships faced by German soldiers anticipating the inevitable American advance towards them, as they are attacked daily by American bombers. Hungry, filthy and completely disillusioned with the war, they are also attacked daily by Italian partisan (Guerilla fighters) snipers and ambushes. Hope arrives in the form of a small group of Italian soldiers, led by Lt. Pietro (Fabio Sartor). However, the Germans are unwilling to fight alongside the poorly trained Italian troops, who have proved to be a hindrance more than anything else to them throughout the course of the war so far. Many of the Germans recognise the war as a lost cause at this stage, while the Italians suffer from conflicting emotions as to why they are fighting against their own people on their own land. In all the film offers a unique insight into the minds of the Axis troops during the final year of the war when defeat seemed inevitable.
I love watching war films that offer a unique perspective from the German soldiers in WW2. Films such as "Das Boot", "Cross of Iron" and "Stalingrad" offer invaluable and unique insights into the minds of the German soldiers in the war, reminding us at the end of the day that these men were not much different than the English and American men sent away from home to fight in a war they didn't want to be in. Ari Taub's earlier effort "The Fallen" offered viewpoints from the German soldiers, the Italian soldiers, the American soldiers and the partisans, which was a good idea but the film failed in many aspects; the editing for starters was really bad and it just did not flow at a good pace, leaving me feeling exhausted by the end of it. He makes a good decision here with "Last Letters from Monte Rosa" and that is in disregarding the American perspective and concentrating fully on the others. Who needs to see the Allied perspective when it's all we have been seeing for the last fifty years? The acting is fairly decent, and credit to the actors who reprise their roles, because it has to be said that they probably weren't being paid much due to the very low-budget, but Fabio Sartor, Thomas Pohn and Carmine Raspaolo are three notable actors who do so. The action is minimal, but quite good for a low-budget film. However, that being said, many scenes are just taken from "The Fallen" and edited into this. It's quite distracting but overall, I enjoyed it because I seen it as a huge improvement. Essentially a remake, but Ari Taub does it right second time around.
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