(This post first appeared on June 27, 2009.)
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.