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4.8 out of 5 stars83
4.8 out of 5 stars
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2002
This film is clearly based on the 1917 mutiny of French troops during the Nivelle Offensives. What happened was that the French troops tired of advancing against well prepared German positions in badly thought out offensives spat the dummy and said no more. They would defend but not attack. The French general staff shelled their own troops to try to get them going.
This film is reasonably simple in structure. A poorly planned attack is carried out and fails. The French generals want to execute some randomly chosen men to encourage the rest to be more enthusiastic next time. A trial is held which is of course simply a joke and the men are executed. Kirk Douglas plays an officer who leads the original attack and then defends the men in what is a Kangaroo court.
Kubrick's main problem as a director is the lack of complexity of his characters and the fact that he was a rather heavy handed director.
This story which is basically a simple anti war tract is one of his better films as there are really no characters. He is talking about an event. The portrait of the French generals is something of a crude charactature rather than being realistic. Still it was necessary to show his notion of the idiocy of war to attack them as being remote.
Kubrick's strong points are his photography and the construction of his scences. All of that is well done and it creates a series of powerful tableaus.
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