Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Winter in Wartime Review

I will start by saying this is a very good movie.  However, it is not really a war movie in the traditional sense.  It is more a story about loyalty and doing the right thing in spite of very difficult circumstances.  It is also about being able to recognize what is the right thing when everything around you seems to be in shades of grey and the loss of innocence that can be a result.  That is why it is set in winter.  The film has a very bleak and grey quality to it that cannot be ignored.  It takes this theme and presents it in a setting that we normally view in cinema as being black and white, morally speaking.  That is the setting of World War II. (I also got the feeling that it was going to be about riding your bike as much as possible).

What I really liked about this movie is that it does not bog itself down into the morality of war or the participants in a war like so many World War II movies do.  There is a place for those movies but this was not it.  Instead, it allows us to see that nothing is black and white in a situation like that and doing the right thing is going to hurt other people.  Keep in mind that, when this movie is set, the outcome of the war was inevitable and predictable.  So why were they going through all the trouble to still do the right thing?  This makes the "doing the right thing" angle that much more intense.

From a technical standpoint, I would say this film is very good.  At least, I assume it is.  The directing and cinematography is good but I have a hard time determining the quality of the acting.  Most of it is not in English and is subtitled.  Therefore, I cannot really determine if the actors are delivering their lines convincingly.  But, from their non-verbal cues, it would seem that they are.

If you like artsy independent non-English movies, see it.  Otherwise, I would say give it a miss.  There's nothing revolutionary or different about the movie to make you go out of your way if you really do not like subtitles.

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