Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Lost Battalion

I enjoy a good war movie every now and then, and THE LOST BATTALION fits the bill. Made for the A&E cable network, it’s based on the true story of an American battalion that gets cut off from the rest of the American forces during an advance into the Argonne forest during World War I. Almost completely surrounded by the Germans, the Americans resolve to hold their position until help arrives, which takes days. Outnumbered, starving, without medical supplies, the odds are against any of them surviving.

In classic war movie fashion, THE LOST BATTALION introduces us to about a dozen of the soldiers, most of them from New York but some from Texas and Montana as well. Most of them are “citizen soldiers”, who were either drafted or enlisted to fight, not career military. Their commander, a lawyer in civilian life played by Rick Shroeder, fits into this category, too, and struggles to become a respected leader. You know going in (at least you do if you’ve ever watched many war movies) that not all of them are going to make it, but this grim, gritty film directed by Russell Mulcahy makes their life-and-death struggle very interesting.

With its unrelenting air of doom, I’m not sure I’d say that THE LOST BATTALION is an entertaining film, but it’s very well-done (other than some shaky camerawork I didn’t like) and I think it’s a movie that’s well worth watching.



7 comments:

Frank Loose said...

One of my favorite war movies is not your typical war movie. Ever see Gallipoli? WWI is more or less the back drop against which to present the story of two young men portrayed by a very young Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. They enlist as "runners" and are used to "courier" information and orders during battle. This 1981 Australian film was directed by Peter Weir and well worth watching.

David Cranmer said...

I've always enjoyed Rick Shroeder's acting and the plot you described reminded me a little of Steve McQueen's Hell is for Heroes.

AndyDecker said...

Mulcahy is an underrated director.

Anonymous said...

At first I thought the picture was of Henry Fonda!

James Reasoner said...

I hadn't noticed it before, but Shroeder does indeed bear a resemblance to Henry Fonda in that picture. Not so much in the movie itself, though.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The shakey camera you mentioned ruined the movie for me--and coutless other movies as well. Oh how I wish someone would teach today's director's how to direct and cameramen how to film, and (perhaps most importantly) post-production people how to post-produce.

Richard Moore said...

I looked at the picture and thought "I don't remember a Henry Fonda movie by that name."

I am very fond of the 1991 Rick Shroeder movie "Blood River" with Wilford Brimley. The one aspect that drags down the enjoyment is knowing the script was intended for Ron Howard and John Wayne until Wayne's illness made it impossible. Now Wayne and Howard with that script would have been terrific!