The extraordinary true story of Oliver Woodward. It's 1916 and Woodward must tear himself from his new young love to go to the mud and carnage of the Western Front. Deep beneath the German lines. Woodward and his secret platoon of Australian tunnelers fight to defend a leaking, labyrinthine tunnel system packed with enough high explosives to change the course of the War. Written by
At the church scene, all the soldiers are wearing service medals for the Great War (British War Medal and Victory Medal). Woodward and McBride are also wearing gallantry decorations of the Military Cross (purple and white riband). Sergeant Fraser is also wearing a Distinguished Conduct Medal (this is regarded as the level below the highest medal for gallantry, the Victoria Cross). One soldier is wearing a 1914-15 Star, indicating a longer period of service. See more »
In the attack on the Red House, Morris is holding and aiming his Lee-Enfield rifle left-handed. Soldiers during WWI and subsequently were always trained to fire the Lee-Enfield right-handed as the bolt is on the right, which is difficult to operate when firing left-handed. See more »
Do you remember, as a kid, watching stories of bravery and heroism set on a backdrop of war, and being fascinated by a kind of warfare you'd never even imagined before? Marveling at crafty allies and enemies alike pitting their wits as much as their weapons against each other to find each others weakness and foil the other's strategy? Well Beneath Hill 60 is just like that- an old fashioned no-nonsense look at a fascinating angle of WW1 never before properly explored- TUNNEL warfare. There are moments that leave you stunned to think of what dangers and precautions these men had to be ready for, above -and- below ground.
Make no mistake though, unlike the coming of age tale Gallipoli or the military court drama Breaker Morant, this really is, at long last, an Australian WAR film. And quite possibly it is the best from this country so far (though I'm still yet to see The Odd Angry Shot so jury's still out) and I would say one of the top ten WW1 films I've ever seen (and I've seen a LOT).
And it's all the more incredible because it's a true story. There was one moment which even almost made me tear up (unbelievable, right?) which I won't mention, suffice to say it involved a briefly shown, but dialogue-less revealing of just how much an experience had left a man broken and hollow.
If I absolutely HAD to find fault with the film, it would NOT be the flashbacks (you can't go round saying the characters were one dimensional and then say the background story was unimportant!) but perhaps the soundtrack. It knows what it's doing on the battlefield, but in the flashbacks is unsure of itself, sometimes getting all melodramatic like an excited child.
Really, that's it. The music seems slightly odd in one or two places. Everything else just WORKS. It's visually stunning, realistic, has great characters, action, suspense (and how!) and even humour. That's right, even in WW1 soldiers found time to crack the odd joke don't y'know.
So do check this out pronto- you won't be disappointed. And remember- keep one eye closed when the flares go up- you'll see better once it goes out again. ;)
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