Gallipoli (1981)

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“How fast can you run?”
“As fast as a leopard,” 

Two Aussie sprinters take part in the Gallipoli campaign, ending up as messengers during one of the bloodiest battles of the conflict.

This was another film watched for a film module. I had always been aware of the film and the battle in world war I. I had for some reason always avoided watching the film for many years due to an unfounded dislike of dense war epics. In the intervening years I have sampled such finery as this movie and All Quiet on the Western Front. My ‘hatred’ of epics has changed to one of immense respect.

 

From director Peter Weir who brought cinema such interesting films as Picnic at Hanging Rock, this film could be a frivolous flounce not worth taking seriously. However, we are treated to a brilliant film with a strong cast of characters which blends drama with a subtle humour which is not the film’s only means of survival, and thus it doesn’t distract it from the main aim.

The film is long, so beware (its around the 2hr mark) but the final minutes are achingly tense and moving. It doesn’t revel in the sentimentality or the inevitable loss. Rather, it imprints it on your mind. At the time of writing this post (October 2016) last year was the 100th anniversary of the battle. The loss is still felt, even to this day.

MY RATING: ***** / *****

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