The Aftermath (2019) Poster

(II) (2019)

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7/10
Interesting at times, but neither a powerful romance nor an impressive historical drama
themadmovieman2 March 2019
This is a great example of how a film can try to juggle and blend two different genres, and despite never really getting either perfect, can still offer up interesting and engaging drama. As a result, The Aftermath is far from a perfect film, and its frustrating misfocus given the potential of its historical setting makes for an often underwhelming watch. However, it still has the elegance, dramatic intrigue and often even emotion to keep you engaged throughout, ultimately making for a thoroughly watchable, but not exceptional, film.

So, the two ideas and genres that the film attempts to balance and bring together are romantic drama and pure history, and it's the historical side that I'd like to start off with, because while the film features some fascinating historical themes, it also fails to capitalise on the genuinely enthralling potential of its setting.

Set in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the film centres on the relations and tensions between the British occupiers and local German citizens, with emotions and suspicion still running high following six years of all-out war. In that, the film looks at both the continuing negative feelings between both peoples, brought to life early on by Keira Knightley, as well as the idea that, with the war over, there is no need for recriminations in the face of a rebuilding project for the better of all, which we see in Jason Clarke's character early on.

Now, while the movie does occasionally hit those beats in a little too on-the-nose (especially when compared with how the same ideas are presented in the brilliant Land Of Mine), it's not quite as clear-cut as you may expect. Subverting expectations by reversing the stereotypical roles and seeing the patriarch hold more sympathy to the Germans, with his wife holding onto more antagonistic feelings following the war, The Aftermath does offer up some genuinely intriguing historical discourse, which builds to fascinating and often even palpably tense heights towards the end of the first act.

However, the biggest disappointment about this film is that it doesn't follow through. Despite a strong start from the historical point of view, its second and third acts don't offer all that much more on the same plain, with focus shifting abruptly to a romance that, while perfectly pleasant and enjoyable, just doesn't have the depth or intrigue to prove really impressive.

Of course, that's not to say that the entire historical context goes out the window, and the romance that develops still focuses on the idea of relationships crossing political lines - similarly looked at in films like Suite Française. However, it's far closer to a generic period romance, rather than one that blends historical themes in to further what was developed earlier on.

As a result, the film grinds to a little bit of underwhelming halt as it edges towards a rather predictable finale. It's not a boring watch, and with strong performances from Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgård, there is still intrigue and entertainment to find, but it all feels a rather frustrating and disappointing approach given the potential of the opening act's historical focus.

If you're looking for a nice romantic drama, this film can prove an enjoyable watch, but you'll have to wait quite a while for the romance to start in earnest. On the flipside, if you're looking for a historical drama that depicts the aftermath of the Second World War (as I was), the film starts off in strong fashion, but its move towards romance later on will likely leave you disappointed.
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5/10
British soldiers, native Germans ... and a Steinway
FrenchEddieFelson1 May 2019
In the aftermath of the Second World War, in Hamburg, a house belonging to a German architect is requisitioned by the British army to welcome a couple coming from London, whose husband is a colonel. This British couple recently lost their only son during a German bombing in London, while the German architect is the father of a fifteen-years-old daughter and is recently widowed following an Allied bombing. The German family is supposed to leave the house but the British colonel will affably offer them to stay, provided they occupy the attic. And then ...

Pros: the costumes, the cars, the interior decoration, the sets, the photography, ... This film is extremely refined and a visual treat. In addition, the actors play excellently. The final scene in which Lewis Morgan justifies his behavior as a 'failing' husband is particularly moving.

Cons: the almost laughable script. The story between Rachael and Stephen is literally incredible. In my humble opinion, this affair should have started after, and only after the piano scene between Rachael and Freda which is a true mother / daughter catharsis and that could have triggered a beginning of connivance between Rachael and Stephen. But, as it stands, it's a cinematographic failure because of a perfectible script. Very perfectible.
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7/10
A good romantic drama
mveal1 March 2019
I sought out The Aftermath primarily because of an interest in its setting, post war occupied Germany. What I found was a well made film, full of great performances. All of the characters in this film were emotionally wounded in some way and it was fascinating to watch them clash and interact.

A handsome and compelling production, I don't understand some of the poor reviews I've seen for this movie. Romantic films really aren't my thing but The Aftermath held my attention throughout its running time.

Great ending too.
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8/10
Superb acting
tjandspallan12 March 2019
Keira Knightley is simply outstanding in this drama about a woman torn between two men at the end of WW2. Very much in the vein of a Merchant Ivory production; might seem old-fashioned by modern standards, but there is definitely a place for this type of film, which is largely missing from current productions. An enjoyable, moving and beautiful film.
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9/10
The Aftermath
victoriahowlett-092012 March 2019
Having read the book of the same name, I was prepared for the film to be different. And so it is. Whilst it is inevitable that the book's richly crafted depth could not be fully accommodated in the 100 or so minutes of the film, the finished cut is still satisfying not only on content but also visually. The performances by Knightley, Skarsgaad and Clarke were also of a high performance with Clarke delivering his strongest yet. The theme of forgiveness is run on several levels, simply but effectively. This is a story which will resonate with most. See the film and then read the book.
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5/10
A film stuck in two minds but completing neither
muamba_eats_toast5 March 2019
The first hour set up the film excellently. However from that point the whole film felt torn between wanting to be an epic historical drama and a romantic drama whilst settling on either. Even at the end I had no idea what they were trying to accomplish with the film or what the supposed message was. Could have been a lot better had they settled on a theme. Still watchable but at the end all felt a little pointless.
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7/10
BRAVO KEIRA...HATS OFF !!
TADKALABS18 June 2019
Keira knows how to outshine others when it comes to delivering classic, carved out acting without a hitch and she does that with all the panache and finesse and how in this - days of yore world war time saga of romance and despair and compassion in a power packed rendition which not many can. Measured and mature, reflecting the welled up tragic circumstances and carrying the sublime hint of static grief in posture & expression, making the viewer drown slowly into her gaze and dialogue rendition as a natural propensity that emotes from all angles. It grows over you gradually and holds you to a thrall throughout the movie without your knowledge. Stupendous is a mere adjective to describe it.

The movie starts slowly from a point where the WW2 has just ended and Allied Forces have occupied Germany which is in shambles at the end of war. The story begins at a shattered and in ruins Hamburg in 1945. Keira joins her hubby Jason Clarke (of White House Down & Everest Fame) Who is a Colonel in Brit Army, in charge of rebuilding and deNazifying Germany. They move into a classic German Mansion belonging to a well-off widower Alexander Skarsgard (of Straw Dogs, Legend of Tarzan, Hold The Dark fame) and his daughter which is been selected by the Allied Forces for the Colonel. Keira has lost her son in German bombing over London and Alexander has lost his wife in Allied bombing of Germany so there is enough tragic past on both sides. The movies opens to this background slowly.

One oddity is the Mansion looks so classy and almost contemporary with British Piano, finely carved wooden work and pretty modern looking seating while nearby it is full of rubble and dust and bombed out exterior which looks little outlandish when you look at the Mansion and war-torn land outside. Well it is a minor aberration though it does register in the mind. The movie picks up pace may be from the 20th minute onwards and then it keeps you engrossed totally in it till the end of its total length of 140 plus minutes of run time. Let me go silent now since saying anything more may be a spoiler. The movie though starts slow, unfolds in a crafty step by step manner and turns its head on you with its at times predictable turns but with more finesse than you expect every time. It's a Keira Show all the way with excellent supporting roles by Clarke & Skarsgard. Clever delivery of halted dialogues are good too since you more or less get the complete line. That's kind of charming.

Pretty sublime direction by James Kent too who gave us 13th Tale, Margaret & 13th Tale kind of movies. Has managed to extract good performances by the star cast. Effectively mirrors the feelings of mistrust, tension in the air, grief, passion, sub plots within the story & hostility without much ado. The screenplay is tight and neat and well rendered with consummate ease.

To sum up, The Aftermath is a better movie without a doubt. Keira delivers the punch with more than VFM performance. One can never believe she has Dyslexia at all!!! And the aftermath is a feel good factor which it leaves you with aplenty.
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6/10
nothing really... happened?
sophiamendes005 March 2019
When i read a short description of the movie, I immediately wanted to watch it. the aftermath of the war between the german and the english people, that will be interesting. well... it did not focus on that. this movie had the potential to be such a good movie, but they decided to focus way more on the relationship between the two (maybe three) main characters rather than focusing on that AND the war. don't get me wrong, the actors were really good and their storylines were... cute? adorable? i dont know. I just know that my first thought after the movie ended was "what really happened in this movie?". because you spend the entire two hours waiting for something big to happen, and it never does. However, at the same time, it was not a bad movie. I do realize that my comment here is rather negative, but, like I said, the actors' performance make up for the lack of focus on the real subject of this movie. if you like romantic movies, you'll like this one (even though you might get mad at Keira's character, JUST A WARNING!). but, if you like war movies, don't watch it. you might get (reallyyyyy) disappointed
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8/10
a portrait of unresolvable grief
CineMuseFilms5 May 2019
There are many reasons a beautifully made film like The Aftermath (2019) ends up critically panned. Some describe it as slow, melodramatic, and predictable, but such labels often reflect unfulfilled viewer expectations rather than an ill-conceived or poorly executed film.

Set in 1946, the plotline is straightforward with few surprises other than its final moments. It opens with British Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Keira Knightley) arriving in the devasted city of Hamburg to restore law and order, as well as to root out remaining Nazi sympathisers. The thoroughly middle-class Morgans have requisitioned a stately mansion owned by architect Stephan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgárd) and his rebellious daughter Freda (Flora Thiemann). Lewis is a compassionate man who cannot bear to send the Luberts to a squalid refugee camp and invites them to stay in the attic, setting the tension lines that drive the film. When someone remarks that more bombs were dropped on Hamburg in one week than were dropped on London in one year, we enter an inverted moral paradigm where the line between victory and vanquished turns grey.

The slow start has a purpose. Few films respectfully explore the humiliation of defeat and many viewers would ask 'why should they'? The Aftermath dwells on prolonged moments where the victor strolls in and takes over the home of the vanquished; where a population is deliberately starved to keep them compliant; where a once-proud culture must confront its inner demons. Deep unresolvable grief permeates the city as well as the lives of the Morgans and the Luberts. Both lost loved ones and the times are not sympathetic to healing. In the middle of this swirling emotional vortex, a classic 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' sub-plot becomes the narrative device for rebuilding lives.

This film stands out in the war-drama genre because of its nuanced portrait of the immediate aftermath of the Allied occupation of Germany. It reeks of period authenticity in ways that only British films can do. The stunning cinematography captures the horror of the immediate post-war period without the usual reliance on the tropes of military casuality and destruction. Knightley and Clarke's performances are outstanding, while Skarsgárd adequately fills the role of a grieving, if over-confident, romantic antagonist. As happens so often, Knightley's commanding presence and extraordinary range of emotional versatility stamps her ownership all over the film.

If history is only written by winners it will always only be half-true. The Aftermath is an essay about the other half, blending sufficient historical insight into a romantic drama to hold our interest without emotional sledgehammers. There are minor lapses of pace, maybe a narrative digression or two that dilutes momentum; but overall, this is a satisfying film that takes an uncommon view on unexplored cinematic territory.
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10/10
Beautiful Story from a lost period in history
karenpawsey20 March 2019
I loved this movie. The atmospheric portrayal of a defeated country that had lost so much and now had the added indignity of Foreign occupation but underneath just damaged people trying to rebuild their lives. It was entertaining and moving and thought provoking. The three main performances were excellent and I just wanted them all to win in a situation where that was impossible. It may not be a film critics choice, but I think it will be a film lovers one.
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6/10
The Aftermath lacks passion and romanticism within its illicit love triangle.
TheMovieDiorama15 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Certainly with every WWII film I review, I consistently state how saturated the genre is. Well, that's because it is. Every year we see four or five released, with many fairly formulaic. Whilst this bolsters a clichéd theme of betrayal and lust, it does however utilise its war-torn environment to encapsulate the struggles of both British forces and German civilians. After their arrival in the ruins of Hamburg, a British couple are forced to share a grand house with its previous owners who are German.

Acting as a microcosm for the conflict of interest against the two oppositions, the house is quickly divided into zones so that they don't interfere with each other. The colonel's absence only leads to his wife's longing for love, essentially turning enmity into passion. It's an interesting environment, and director Kent makes full use of each room to symbolise the loss of the luxurious lives that they once had. Both families have suffered from personal loss during the war, you're supposed to feel empathetic towards them, and occasionally you do. However due to Rachael mostly being portrayed as a selfish socialite, you somewhat feel distanced from her. It's a story about betrayal, yet her character's romance feels underdeveloped. The initial sexual tension was practically non-existent. It just happened. One moment she hates the Germans, the next in love with one. The change of pace made for a jarring transition, and that's without mentioning the several scenes of newly-discovered burnt bodies in Hamburg, acting as a heavy reminder that you are watching a war drama.

It all comes down to the screenplay which lacks that heft and meat to make these characters come to life. A dire shame as all three lead actors were exquisite. Knightley, in all her pouting glory, looked stunning and had one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen her act in. I genuinely felt raw vulnerability for her character as she breaks down whilst playing the piano. Both Clarke and Skarsgård supported her well and gave efficient performances. The costumes were delightful and Phipps' classical score was lovely to listen to, enhancing the grandeur of its central abode. Just the clichéd affair and its underdevelopment diminishes the central premise of this story. It's tasteful and occasionally exhumes steamy passion, which will quench the thirst for fans of the period drama sub-genre, but lacking that definable quality which will leave many wanting more. Watchable and enjoyable nonetheless.
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5/10
Too predictable
dongegp7 March 2019
Photography and music are fantastic Lame story, designed for an easy tear. Wouldn't recommend it unless you have nothing else to do. Don't pay for it, wait for Netflix or Prime
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10/10
Love thy enemy
Padreviews7 March 2019
Beautiful

Thought this was going to be a 9/10 and was ready to write my review as such but the ending changed that it's 10/10

If you enjoyed The English Patient you'll love this.

Set amongst the backdrop of the end of the Second World War in war ravaged Hamburg .

The story has a strong theme of forgivenesses shielded by the stiff upper lip of the English upper class .

The Socratic dialogue plays a strong part in examining right and wrong - in the end it doesn't matter who won the war - everyone lost and everyone has loss

The irony of the good guys killing more people than the bad guys and those who survive wanting revenge - but the central theme of forgiveness runs right through to the end and out of the destruction comes an opportunity for rebirth

Just beautiful

Pad.A 10/10
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10/10
Loved it
emgillibrand7 March 2019
We absolutely loved this film. Kiera knightly was her usual brilliant self. Couldn't fault it
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10/10
It's as good as you hoped for!
MysteriousStain4 April 2019
Unless your soul is dead. And you hate subtlety. And you're saving your stars for the next Disney film. Yes that's a dig. But if you love this kind of film then you will love this film. It's all there. Beautiful acting, nice simple storyline, the romance, the hurt and the way people treat each other. Those who say it's boring need to wean themselves off the always-on world.
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5/10
Slow melodrama
Fudge-33 March 2019
Rachael Morgan moves to Hamburg to join her husband Lewis, a British army officer, during clean-up operations in the aftermath of the Second World War. A grand house is requisitioned for them to live in while the German owners have to live in the attic.

There is a love triangle and a predictable melodrama. The acting and scenery is great. The portrayal of the difficult life in Germany after the war is well shown and makes for a dramatic backdrop. It deserved a better film. But the story so leisurely unfolds that it lost me and after an hour the only thing I was interested in was the background.

If the story had been more closely shot in the ruins of the city then it might have improved. But the fancy living in the grand house in its perfect grounds insulated the story and the audience from its historical setting.

There are a couple of strong sex scenes, occasional serious violence and some bad language. Only patient adults are likely to have the temperament for it.
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5/10
Powerful setting, had great potential
hedgehog212118 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film has a lot of potential but lacked romanticism that it needed since it is the central theme to this movie. Every year we see four or five released, with many fairly formulaic. Whilst this bolsters a clichéd theme of betrayal and lust, it does however utilise its war-torn environment to encapsulate the struggles of both British forces and German civilians. After their arrival in the ruins of Hamburg, a British couple are forced to share a grand house with its previous owners who are German.

Acting as a microcosm for the conflict of interest against the two oppositions, the house is quickly divided into zones so that they don't interfere with each other. The colonel's absence only leads to his wife's longing for love, essentially turning enmity into passion. It's an interesting environment, and director Kent makes full use of each room to symbolise the loss of the luxurious lives that they once had. Both families have suffered from personal loss during the war, you're supposed to feel empathetic towards them, and occasionally you do. However due to Rachael mostly being portrayed as a selfish socialite, you somewhat feel distanced from her. It's a story about betrayal, yet her character's romance feels underdeveloped. The initial sexual tension was practically non-existent. It just happened. One moment she hates the Germans, the next in love with one. The change of pace made for a jarring transition, and that's without mentioning the several scenes of newly-discovered burnt bodies in Hamburg, acting as a heavy reminder that you are watching a war drama.

It all comes down to the screenplay which lacks that heft and meat to make these characters come to life. A dire shame as all three lead actors were exquisite. Knightley, in all her pouting glory, looked stunning and had one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen her act in. I genuinely felt raw vulnerability for her character as she breaks down whilst playing the piano. Both Clarke and Skarsgård supported her well and gave efficient performances. The costumes were delightful and Phipps' classical score was lovely to listen to, enhancing the grandeur of its central abode. Just the clichéd affair and its underdevelopment diminishes the central premise of this story. It's tasteful and occasionally exhumes steamy passion, which will quench the thirst for fans of the period drama sub-genre, but lacking that definable quality which will leave many wanting more. Watchable and enjoyable nonetheless.
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2/10
Miss it
cristinamariemendes20 March 2019
There's honestly no reason for this movie to exist? The only interesting thing to add to the slog of WW2 movies would have been actually exploring the landscape of Germany post the war (with many movies about the time really ending once the was is "over"), but really this story is just using that possibly interesting story as a backdrop for a really trite and boring romance. A particularly tone deaf one in 2019 as well. No value in actually watching this movie.
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2/10
Nothing to see hear
bogeyman78614 March 2019
If you want to hear Knightly whimper for 90 mins look no further. No story line. Pointless movie. If it wasn't for the location/set it would have got 1/10
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8/10
A Great Movie
martimusross12 March 2019
This was a very carefully crafted movie set in Hamburg in the immediate months after the end of the Second World War (a little known period). By careful use of different themes we had before us the aftermath of the devastation of war on many levels, effortlessly juxtaposing a damaged city with damaged characters.

After years of bitter war and effective propaganda we were shown, and without mercy, how both sides came to view the "other" as less than human and in the process became dehumanised to suffering on a near cataclysmic scale.

The movie played with four commonly assumed psychological realities; firstly that relationships rarely survive the loss of a child, secondly, the grieving process is a luxury and often the immediate need to carry on delays this process, thirdly no parent ever expects to bury their own child and lastly grief of all sorts numbs the soul to the needs of others.

This was a brilliantly styled movie that captured the pre-war Biedermeier period interiors and ravishing sets of knitwear seemingly from the hand of Coco herself. The camera succeeded in introducing a level of sensuality and faded decadence amongst the ruin and was masterfully achieved.

Rachel (Kiera Knightley), gave us a conflicted personality, torn by duty, grief and the gap between how life should had been and how life was due to the war. Her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), gave a masterfully suppressed performance, showing a man ripped asunder by war and grief, this was a class act and deeply affecting. Stephen (Alexander Skarsgård), dominated his scenes, the camera just loves this man's bone structure. The acting by the entire ensemble was first rate and why perhaps this movie left a lastly impression on the mind.

The end just did not sit well with the previously mentioned psychological backdrop but hey it was only the last three minutes and it did not ruin a wonderful evening.
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5/10
If you don't mind it's predictable then it's an okay watch
phd_travel15 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
If you accept this is a predictable old fashioned story which apart from the brief nudity could have been a 1950s drama, its an okay watch. Also this isn't much of a war movie so much as a movie about an affair with a backdrop of war damaged Hamburg and grieving for lost loved ones. No exciting battles just a few terrorist like attacks due to the German resentment for occupying forces. The CGI destroyed Hamburg is alright. Liked the house where they stay too. Very stately and attractive. Kiera is alright and looks good in the dresses of the time. It's so obvious when she has a husband played by less attractive actor like Jason Clarke, there is going to be a romance with the German staying in the attic. Alexander Skarsgaard doesn't act or speak too German maybe that's good - a bad fake accent is worse than no accent. Liked the part where he told the British soldier not too bang on his piano. The main elements of the movie is about when they are going to do it and then whether they will be caught. The occupying forces seem to have lots of parties. In a way predictable is okay at least there wasn't an irritating tragic death.
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1/10
Absolutely ridiculous storyline
thebeard-532327 March 2019
This is without doubt the most ridiculous unbelievable storyline of any movie I have ever seen.

Avoid at any cost...

Absolute to level bbc rubbish
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6/10
A failed attempt to capture the human aspect of the aftermath of WW2
siderite16 June 2019
Colonel's wife Rachel comes to a nice German house, requisitioned by Her Majesty's government for said Colonel, where she has to live together with the German owner and his teenage daughter. There is a lot of baggage there, as both families have lost somebody in bombings, there is the tension of the British occupation of the city to which the Colonel is temporary governor while people are still being found underneath the rubble and, as military people do, the British Colonel just won't acknowledge his feelings of guilt and hurt at his son's death. So what is a girl to do? Have an affair, of course.

The story might have worked, perhaps it did in the book, but in the film there absolutely no character development. People just act in a certain way to further the plot, but there is no reason for them to do so. There are lots of incongruities related to when are people at work or school and when they can stay at home enjoying nice wine and the occasional screw. The ending, the most powerful moment of the story, is also completely predictable and loses its force when you realize the big decision should have been the same regardless of circumstances. It is just impossible to care about most of the people in this two hour film. How someone managed to neglect characterization in a movie so long is beyond me.

Bottom line: this is a weak movie with a great cast. Surprisingly, I felt Jason Clarke did a better job than Knightley and Skarsgård combined.
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4/10
A Hollywood-level Adult Video Production
darkking_19956 March 2019
This film has two major problems (or I would call it FLAWS):

1. Lack of character motivation, emotions & flows between each scenes. 2. Casting Keira Knightley is a HUGE MISTAKE.
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4/10
A great concept, disappointingly presented.
travdougal25 March 2019
My father was one of the first British officers of the occupying forces...I was 4 when my mother and I travelled to join him in January 1947. I was hoping and expecting to see a film which encapsulated my memories, but much of it was overblown and inaccurate. Why on earth could they not get a decent German actor to play the German widower? Skarsgard stumbles through his German lines with a very poor accent...spoiling the whole reality. Very poor research in many areas.....not least to the use of two Union Jacks on the wings of the colonel's staff car, one of which was upside down ( Note, Mr Kent, the wide white part of the St Andrew's is always towards the base of the flagstaff). Thank goodness for Keira Kniightley....she rescued what would otherwise have been a total disaster
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