Tuesday, February 9, 2010

review: Paths of Glory

I can't believe it.
A Stanley Kubrick film I actually like. I don't mean anything against him; I just don't really like the movies of his that I have seen.
But this one is different.
Based on the novel, this movie is a military justice story. During WWI, a french Gen. (George Macready) is asked to take a place called Ant Hill - a german stronghold. With persuasion of being promoted and being goaded about the abilities of his men, he agrees - even though he knows it is almost a suicide mission. The charge is a failure - partly because it is impossible, partly because some of the men refuse to leave the trenches. There is, of course, a court martial. The company commanders are ordered to pick 3 men to face charges. One was choosen because he has potential blackmail against his commander (Ralph Meeker). One was unlucky and drew the company lot (Joe Turkel). And one was chosen because he was an "undesirable" (Timothy Carey). The Col. of the unit (Kirk Douglas), who is a lawyer in civilian life, volunteers to represent them.
This movie is amazing. The acting is so powerful - especially of the accused men. Macready is wonderful in his role - a human villian, not the ultra-villian most of these roles tend to seem. Douglas is as amazing as ever. His power and passion never fail to impress me.
I really enjoyed the focus on the 3 men and how they were handling it. It was just so powerful. I cried. I couldn't help it, it was so moving.
Artistically, it is quite interesting. Some of the camera shots are just beautiful. It's a wonderful look at trench warfare, which you don't see in many war movies. And it is B&W - and there is just something about that.
I really liked this movie!
4 out of 5 stars!

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