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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great film, moving story but sadly no subtitles
enjoyed the film apart from the lack of subtitles, being hard of hearing and wearing 2 hearing aids i need subtitles and cannot believe that any film nowadays is issued on dvd or blu ray without these.
we enjoyed the film, yes it is bloody and gory but what war isn't. the pointlessness of war is shown by the simple loss of life.
the general bombardment of the...
Published 24 months ago by Andy R. Wilson

versus
81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good intentions but just another ordinary war movie
The Third Battle of Ypres was fought in the most nightmarish conditions of any campaign on the Western Front, going from initial unexploited victory to muddy, bloody stalemate, yet despite the impossible conditions, the Canadian troops who fought there, like the Australians, distinguished themselves on a remarkably regular basis, inadvertently providing endless material...
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by Trevor Willsmer


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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good intentions but just another ordinary war movie, 17 Mar 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The Third Battle of Ypres was fought in the most nightmarish conditions of any campaign on the Western Front, going from initial unexploited victory to muddy, bloody stalemate, yet despite the impossible conditions, the Canadian troops who fought there, like the Australians, distinguished themselves on a remarkably regular basis, inadvertently providing endless material for a truly great film. Unfortunately Passchendaele, Canada's most expensive film to date (but still mostly unreleased outside its borders), is not that film. Even more unfortunately, it has the feel of a vanity project, with Due South's Mountie Paul Gross writing, co-producing, directing, providing the end title song and giving himself a leading role with all the things actors love to do as a heroic/cynical/tragic/shellshocked Canadian soldier who falls in love with a nurse back home (Caroline Dhavernas, an appealing actress who delivers the film's most convincing performance) before being thrown back into the fray to keep an eye on her screwed up brother. Looking like Patrick Wayne and often sounding like the Duke - "Bring on the Hell!" - he's rendered as too much of a stock WW2 movie character despite being based on a real person, which keeps you from taking him or the movie seriously.

Nor do the opening heroics convince - like much of the film, too many of the attitudes ring false, from its far too modern hero to the designer cynicism. For all the sporadic faux-Saving Private Ryan combat sequences, these are always stock movie characters in stock movie situations saying stock movie dialogue like "You're looking for romance, kid, you're not going to find it in a trench." The latter might be one reason why it spends most of its running time away from the hellholes and mud of Flanders and in the gloriously photographed scenic grandeur of smalltown Alberta instead. Some occasional details are right, like the soldiers sleeping on the hospital floor because after months of trench life ordinary beds are agony for them, others are wrong (it places nurses much closer to the frontline than they were allowed to provide a romantic reunion), but while it recreates period details it often completely misses the feeling of being set in another time. Only the brashly enthusiastic British recruiting officer seems a spot on characterisation, and he's there primarily to further the melodrama, which this film has in spades. It's at its best when evoking Frank Hurley's iconic photographs of the battlefield (though Hurley's portraits were mainly of Australian soldiers), but even these are ultimately undermined by an ending that takes allegory into utter absurdity as our wounded hero carries a crucified soldier through Flanders mud as all the guns fall silent, a scene that's hard to watch without hearing John Wayne's voice in your head saying "Aw, truly this man wuz tha son of God."

Thankfully this is a lot better than Canada's last shot in the blockbuster stakes, the woeful and risible Battle of the Brave/Nouvelle France, and it's not the total misfire of Joyeaux Noel or the utter disaster of The Trench, but it is ultimately just a common-or-garden war movie: okay if you're in a undemanding mood, but constantly failing every chance to be more. For all the clichés it does work in fits and starts, but it's very much an old-fashioned war movie of the kind that would have been made in the 50s rather than the great film it at times seems to think it is. It's very easy to see it being made with the cast of D-Day: The 6th of June - Dana Andrews in the Gross role, Dana Wynter in the Dhavernas one, Edmond O'Brien as the jaded Canadian commander, Richard Todd as the British recruiting officer... But even in 1956 they'd have baled at that scene with the cross.

Unlike the Canadian and Asian DVDs, this UK release is also presented in the wrong ratio - near 1.85:1 rather than the original 2.35:1 - giving you just one more reason to wait until it turns up on TV.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars another WW1 disappointment, 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is a Canadian film set during the WW1 battle at Passchendaele in 1917. Paul Gross from Due South, wrote, directed and starred in an accurate recreation of the battle scenes. For Gross it's a personal film, his grandfather fought there and the opening scenes describe what he did that haunted him for the rest of his life.

The plot is the Gross character is wounded and sent home to Canada with shell shock. He falls in love with a nurse, who initially can't reciprocate because she's trained not to care too much about the thousands of patients she has to treat. So Gross invalided of the army is sent home to recruit.

In Canada he meets a young man who wants to fight but because of asthma isn't allowed to join up. The veteran can't reason with him there is nothing noble or glorious in war and having befriended him is horrified when he tricks his way into the army and straight to the mud and slaughter of Passchendaele. Gross returns to the fray to protect the young soldier.

This film accurately shows the horror of fighting in the incessant rain and mud at Passchandaele. Most of the film is a slow build up to this climax. The first hour is boring, wallowing in melodrama. Gross isn't a Hollywood A-lister and it shows here as he can't carry the film. We have a token baddy who happens to be British (no surprise there).

The budget was limited and it shows. We are hard to shock today after seeing Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, both productions miles better. As for Passchendaele, don't waste your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Pity of War?, 2 July 2013
By 
M. Witcombe "Slazey" (Southampton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
'Passchendaele' is not as good a film as it clearly wants to be; it is, however, beautiful. The film radiates with authenticity, and the scenes that take place in war are suitably horrific. Every scene seems layered both with a striking starkness and a keen eye for detail. This is a visually stunning film.

...which would be fine, if that was remotely reflective of the film as a whole. Beset by a badly cast group of actors giving largely overwrought performances, this film also suffers from an invasive score that renders all would-be moments of pathos grossly sentimental.

There are also some scenes that border on black comedy: A teenager petulantly kicking over (stone) German tombstones manages to send one flying. The film's hero sees a nurse through morphine withdrawl with the power of hugs. A battlefield falls instantly silent for the entrance of said hero. And so on.

The director also seems keen for us to recognise the film's symbolism - so keen that references to crucifictions and kestrels occupy a good portion of the film's dialogue. It's not so much heavy-handed as cack-handed.

But!

This is one of the most striking films to take the First World War as its subject matter. The war scenes are some of the most convincing yet put to film, and even the portion of the film set in Canada is beautifully shot. Don't go in expecting a masterpiece, and forget the largely schmaltzy plot. Just look, appreciate the scenery and try not to cringe too much at the dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shame about the script (and the director/writer/lead ego trip), 6 May 2013
By 
Robert A. H. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This film had very authentic costume and sets, well filmed and technially good. The problem is the massive ego of the writer director and lead who manages to ruin the piece with a vomit inducing ending.
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73 of 88 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars crass, 10 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. Kerry J. Trubee (Purley, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I was told about this film during the summer. i was on a trip to the battlefields of the Western front with a mate. We visited Newfoundland park and Passchendaele and met a few Canadians. i was told what a great film it was and eagerly awaited the DVD release and Oh what a disappointment. i think this was just about the most pretentious, crass war film I have ever seen. The acting was risible, so much so i thought it was a comedy at first. the characters had no depth, it used stereotypes and the battle scenes were cartoonish. It was so obvious. The first half of the film was a boring waste of my time and the second half laugh out loud bad. take the shot of our hero walking alone down a plank road through the desolation of the wet Flanders plain. cue the director shouting "and action" and all of a sudden on walk the actors, hilarious. The final reel where our hero carries his girlfriends brothers body back on his crucifix a la Christ on the Via Dolorosa was so bad I cringed. "my men, my modern Christs, your bloody agony confronts the world" hardly, it was an insult to the brave Canadians who martyred themselves in Flanders. Don't watch this film, it is dreadful.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Passchendaele - Get Blackadder goes Forth instead., 28 Feb 2010
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Like director and lead actor Paul Gross my grandfather also fought in the Great War and was at Passchendaele albeit in the Labour Corps behind the lines having been badly wounded at the Somme. Frankly I think he and thousands of others deserve better than this unimaginably dreadful film. It really speaks volumes that Lewis Milestone's superb "All quiet on the Western Front" made in 1930 remains one of the only films to properly attempt to capture what the essence of this monumental conflict was about

I have no problems with a Canadian perspective on World War I and indeed this could have been the opportunity for a film of real substance bearing in mind Canada's sacrifices throughout the period and Gross's undoubted passion for his subject matter. Alas what we have here is a Director who wants to make some sort of triptych of "A river run through it", "Legends of the Fall" and the excruciatingly poor "Pearl Harbor" and unsurprisingly turns this into a disastrous concoction not worthy of a TV movie. As a actor Gross's performance seeks subtlety but ends up like a bad case of trench foot and the plot of the film is more rancid than Passchendaele mud. The final battle scene does start at one point to explore the sheer misery of the conditions but then degenerates into some kind of ridiculous crucifixion theme that so preposterous as to be laughable. Indeed Gross rescue attempt requires the viewer to believe that the many Germans in the trench system he runs at are possibly the worst shots in military history.

Someday a great director will capture in a film the essence of what the BBC managed to capture in their unparalleled 1964 series the Great War. Similarly Sebastian Faulks sold the film rights for his brilliant bestselling novel "Birdsong" some 16 years ago and since then numerous directors have come and gone but as far as I am aware no film is in sight? There must be a great film somewhere yet to be made that will do justice to the subject matter of the Great War. Passchendaele is emphatically not it.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Passchendaele-the worst WW1 movie you will ever see?, 26 Mar 2010
By 
T. Chadwick (United kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is a Canadian made film. The story opens with an action scene in which the main protagonist, a Canadian sergeant (Sgt Michael Dunne) and a half section from his platoon are pinned down by a German machine gun position apparently somewhere on Vimy Ridge.

The machine gun position is eliminated but Dunne is wounded in the process and he is invalided back to Canada.

The next hour or so -which is the bulk of the film- takes place in Canada.

The main themes of the film concern Dunne's shell shock (very unconvincingly portrayed), his unrequited relationship with his "love interest" Sarah, a Canadian-born German who suffers from conflicting loyalties due to the fact that her father is fighting on Vimy ridge in the German Army, the local community's view of her, and Dunne's difficult relationship with a superior officer, who, whether or not he is meant to be a Canadian officer, displays stereotypical "Imperial Officer" traits or characteristics when dealing with Empire or Colonial troops.

The film slowly proceeds to the point where Sarah's dysfunctional younger brother enlists, and Dunne feels compelled to the return to the Western Front to protect him. After a film sequence showing a Canadian assault on the ridge and the repulse of a German counter attack, the denouement occurs when Dunne, in a dreadfully hammy and implausible scene, recovers Sarah's wounded brother from a duck board crucifix from the midst of the German trenches. The religious connotatations are heavyhanded and far too over-stated.

Most improbably Dunne also manages to meet up with Sarah (who of course has now volunteered to become a nurse) in a casualty clearing station which bizarely is situated in immediate proximity to the Canadian front line fire trench.

Sadly almost all of this film is tedious and it often strains credulity to the limit if not beyond it. It is suggested that this film is based on a true story. If so, there has been more than a little historical license.

This is a mediocre film and the level of acting is at best average. I award it 1 Star because I can not give it a lesser grade. I suggest if you are reading this that you should save your money. AVOID.
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49 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible rubbish, 27 Feb 2010
By 
the mickster (Zywiec, Poland) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This a no star film. Utterly utterly without redemption. From the ludicrous script to the absurd leading mans overlarge shiny white teeth. Plastic "tin" helmets that are not the correct shape and are too small for the head. Part of the film is a Canadian tourist board advert. Do not buy it and any reviews that say you should are plants. Be Warned
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A director's ego trip, 20 Aug 2010
By 
M. Richards (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
If you wanted to see a film about Passchendaele, don't waste your time with this film. It's been made by a bunch of deluded amateurs. Hilariously, in the 'bonus feature,' after proudly describing their attention to historical accuracy, one of the film's production team says, "The Great War, like the First World War, really made us a nation to be reckoned with."

The Canadian Tourist Board should buy-up all stocks of this DVD - to make sure this film is never seen again. Awful, absurd, amateurish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great film, moving story but sadly no subtitles, 7 Jan 2013
By 
Andy R. Wilson "crazy and loving it" (leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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enjoyed the film apart from the lack of subtitles, being hard of hearing and wearing 2 hearing aids i need subtitles and cannot believe that any film nowadays is issued on dvd or blu ray without these.
we enjoyed the film, yes it is bloody and gory but what war isn't. the pointlessness of war is shown by the simple loss of life.
the general bombardment of the trenches meant that young innocent lives were lost on both sides.
maybe enjoyment of this type of film is the wrong word.

regrets that i bought it, NO
but next time please state on the listings in large letters NO SUBTITLES

be warned those who need to read what is being spoken
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Passchendaele [DVD] [2008]
Passchendaele [DVD] [2008] by Paul Gross (DVD - 2010)
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