In this tragic, dark, anti-war satire, a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack. Trapped in what's left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.
Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death - a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to think, thereby reliving his life through strange dreams and memories, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. He remains frustrated by his situation, until one day when Joe discovers a unique way to communicate with his caregivers.
Bleak film about a soldier really wounded with effective fantasy sequences in a series of flashbacks
This wrenching tale about a basket case in which a young American soldier named Johnny -Timothy Bottoms - is hit by a bomb on the last days of the WWI . The story takes place in the mind of a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. As the deaf and dumb Joe is limbless , faceless and confined to a semi-existence and he attempts to communicate with the staff -Edward Franz- and caretakers . Regaining consciousness, 20 and some year-old Joe Bonham slowly learns that while his brain is healthy and able to reason, the rest of his body is irreparably shattered, leaving him forever tied within the confines of his own imagination. Regarded as a vegetable and stuck in a light-less hospital utility room , he fantasizes and dreams about life before and after the artillery shell . He struggles valiantly to find some way to communicate with the outside world . Tapping his head on the pillow in Morse code he breaks through and pleads with his nurse -Diane Varsi- to be put on display as a living example of the cost of war.
The black-listed Trumbo adapted his own novel, seemingly unfilmable , incredibly based on real events , approximately thirty years after he wrote it and shot at the climax of the Vietnam era . The picture is often sentimental, sometimes thought-provoking as well as terrifying . It is developed through a sustained interior monologue on a series of flashbacks to Johnny's infancy , his first and only night with his love interest -performed by Kathy Fields- , before leaving for the front , his employment in the local bakery and his relationship to his father- Jason Robards- and Christ well played by Donad Sutherland , including some breathtaking images in a train. The flick terminates captioning the following : ¨ War dead since 1914 : over 80.000.000 , missing or mutilated : over 150.000.000¨ . ¨ Dulce et decorum est pro Patria Mori ¨. The movie deservedly won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 71 . This morbid anti-war and pro-euthanasia diatribe is very good film though a little bit boring , talky and depressing. It's recently remade (2008) in a special version by Rowan Joseph with Ben MacKenzie as Johnny .
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