At the start of World War II, Cmdr. Ericson is assigned to convoy escort HMS Compass Rose with inexperienced officers and men just out of training. The winter seas make life miserable enough, but the men must also harden themselves to rescuing survivors of U-Boat attacks, while seldom able to strike back. Traumatic events afloat and ashore create a warm bond between the skipper and his first officer. Atmospheric sea footage. —Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Good Understated English Movie About WWII
This understated movie is a good example of England's library of WWII films which refuses to indulge in the campy style that pervades far too many of the American films about that historic and horrible conflict. Hawkins is convincing as the determined captain of Compass Rose, a small sub-hunting escort for convoys moving material from the US to Britain. He is ably supported by his officers, who realistically portray inexperienced civilians pressed into the war effort and turned into sailors. I especially liked the scene where one of them mocks the first mate's love of sausages: "Snorkers! Good-oh!" When at port and interacting with the civilian population, the low-key realism continues. Nice, believable characters are simply snuffed out by German bombs from direct hits on their homes. The action out on "the cruel sea" is not hyped, but presented as it actually must have occurred, including the killing of unlucky English sailors who simply get in the way and the portrayal of the enemy as human beings fighting for their country, however misguided was its leadership. If you want a lot of explosions and baloney, there are plenty of other WWII films that will fill the bill. If you want a good story about real war, see this one.
- Jun 18, 2005
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