Director: Paul Gross
Writer: Paul Gross (Screenplay)
Starring: Paul Gross, Carolin Dhavernas, Joe Dinicol, Michael Greyeyes, Meredith Bailey
Plot: The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I battle of Passchendaele.
Tagline – in love, there is only one rule… don’t die.
Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Too Much Love Not Enough Reality
Story: Passchendaele starts when Michael Dunne (Gross) returns from war injured, he comes back to his home town, where he meets a nurse Sarah Mann (Dhavernas). Sarah’s little brother David (Dinicol) is trying to go figure out how to get the love of his life Cassie (Bailey) to be allowed to see him because of his class in society.
When Michael gets forced to return to duty, his first assignment is to help recruit from his home town, only he won’t let David get involved, until a twist in the family name of the Mann’s puts both Sarah and David’s lives in danger, with only Michael wanting to defend them.
Thoughts on Passchendaele
Characters – Michael Dunne is a war veteran who killed a young man at war before he got injured himself, returning home he battles with his own mental health which does brand him a coward in the eyes of many, until he falls in love and is forced to return to war to protect her brother. Sarah is the nurse that helps Michael recover from his injuries, who just so happens to be from the same town, she lost her father to war and now her brother wants to fight, she will do what she can to prevent him, only her father’s history puts her place in the town in question. David is the younger brother of Sarah, he wants to go to war to impress the people of their town and follow in his father’s footsteps, he doesn’t care how it happens and knows if he does this, he can marry the love of his life.
Performances – Paul Gross takes a couple of roles both on front and behind the camera in this film, he doesn’t make the impact we would like for many of the war movies we do see which disappoints. Caroline Dhavernas and Joe Dinicol both are basic solid supporting performance who both don’t get the impact they need to in the film.
Story – The story here wants to show us how the Canadians were involved in one of the biggest battles of World War I, which is an important story that needs to be told, only we get a love story between a veteran a nurse and her little brother’s desire to go to war. While we see how Michael must deal with the horrors of the consequences of his action in war, it just gets pushed aside, which would have been the attitude at the time. We don’t seem to learn enough about the battle from the action involved, which is the most disappoint part of the story telling. The love side of the story does drag the story down way too much.
History/Romance/War – The history side of this film should be much better, this shows the involvement of the Canadians only doesn’t seem to show us just how big their part was. The romance is the weakest part of the film only dragging it down, while the war side once we get there could challenge many for the brutality of visuals involved in war.
Settings – The film does use the settings at a mixed level because the town could be anywhere, while the war moments look like the real war happening.
Final Thoughts – This is a brutal war story that shows us the true reality of war, only for it to waste too much time on a pointless love story.
Overall: Brutal war sequences saves this dull romance film.