Saturday, December 19, 2009

Going Home

(Terry Ryan, 1986)
Can you imagine how much more terse and revealing this film would be if it had kept the camera and the narrative locked inside the transit camp with the soldiers? Just think how much more evocative it would be of the actual experience of being stranded halfway home from WWI, how much more time there would have been to evoke the frustration and develop the characters that form the shapeless mob of the shapeless final massacre. But nooo, they gotta have Nicholas Campbell making soft-focus love to the Welsh lassie by the fireside and doing his goddamn monologue by the seashore. What a stilted, contrived disaster that monologue is - what post-traumatic stress case would ever express his dilemma to his girlfriend with the words, "The future has been buried with the corpses of a generation?" Ugh! Such smeary abstraction is an extreme disappointment in a movie that portrays Canadian commanding officers slaughtering their own men out of paranoid hatred for Bolshevism. The movie has the trademark dull grey hush of most 80s British TV movies, and it seems to be operating on a "tell, don't show" basis - too many guys sitting in offices talking about the excitement outside. And with Eugene Lapinski single handedly leading the anti-Commie charge against the protests of his eloquently right-headed colleagues, all the ideological points get watered down into a kind of cinematic Warren Report.

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