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"I do not care if we go down in history as barbarians." These words, spoken in the Council of Ministers of the summer of 1941, started the ethnic cleansing on the Eastern Front. The film attempts to comment on this statement.
Great authenticity, but unfulfilled story and unsympathetic characters let it down
When I realised the story was working-class centred, I felt optimistic as there is plenty of highly acclaimed films within this sub-genre that have been made in the past. The most notable directors making these are probably Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.
This film sees the directorial debut from Richard Bellingham, who seems to be showing his childhood from his upbringing in Birmingham.
What I liked about it the most was authentic look it had in every department. From the surroundings, to the sets, costumes and performances.
I was intrigued by the decisions in jumping from two timelines as wells as it got me wanting to know how the journey was going to develop into destination that we see in the opening scene.
The tone had mixes of comedy, strong British drama and some disturbing despicable moments.
The latter made it feel tricky to root for any characters as I just pityed them for the remainder of the film.
Then while the final act did mildly fill the gaps in the story from the opening scene, I just felt it could have been executed better and maybe be more impactful.
I didn't think much of it in the end. It is fairly solid throughout and there was nothing wrong in terms of the production department. The authenticity of the time period was the most impressive aspect and it was an interesting enough working-class story.
But finding it hard to feel sympathy for the characters and not feeling the story being completed made it also look a bit unfulfilled.
With many stronger directors out there showing similar stories, this particular feature I think could feel lost. But there is potential for a strong story to come out of Richard Bellingham both as a director and as a writer. So maybe see this a film as a work in progress.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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