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This review is from: Tumbledown [DVD] (DVD)This film made a deep impression on many people when first televised in 1988, and again in 1992. It was criticised in the media mainly by senior military personnel, partly on the grounds of inaccuracy but also and chiefly on the grounds of the film's implied critique of the way casualties were managed after the war. Unfortunately, at the time of its premiere it was not released for foreign distribution or VHS because of copyright difficulties which some critics at the time believed were related to the content and the public reaction to it. To have it on DVD at this time when so many British and Commonwealth soldiers are returning from fighting abroad is a wonderful opportunity to see a film which still stands as a classic.
Tumbledown is a biographically-based film about Robert Lawrence but it is also a drama about young soldiers in general, and it juxtaposes civilian life with the violence of battle, and disability with fear and discrimination. At the time it was made there were no contemporary films of comparable quality covering these themes, and the critique of the "fire-fighting" military actions of our day was in abeyance. After 23 years it has a dated feel (mostly down to the print quality and editing) but it comes across as strong as ever. Colin Firth's portrayal of Robert Lawrence is a lesson in a skilled actor's realisation of a character, not just an impersonation which is often the case, especially in war films. As a depiction of the denial and fear which can torment people recovering from trauma, it is outstanding and should be viewed by all professionals working with people with PTSD.