Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Beneath Hill 60" with Brandon Cowell and Anthony Hayes (2010)

A gripping, true story highlights this World War One adventure tale set beneath the battlefields of the Western front. The Allies, as well as the Axis powers,  had fought themselves to a stalemate. With over 1 million lives lost by 1916; and no end to the slaughter in sight; it was clearly time to think outside of the box in order to break the deadlock. That’s when they thought of the tunnel.

The Allied Commanders, minus the United States, who would not join them in the war for another year and a half, decided to try and listen in by use of underground tunnels which went far behind enemy lines. This story concerns the tunnel beneath Hill 60 in Belgium. For this mission they enlisted a battalion of experienced, and not so experienced, former mining personnel, who set forth against all odds, to penetrate deep beneath Hill 60.

The movie takes some turns towards being a “docu-drama” when it explores the life of the battalion commander before the ar. That part of the story is wonderfully costumed, with all of the period furnishings; as well as the clothes; expertly duplicated to great effect. But I could’ve lived without it, and at times I wanted to be back in the tunnel with the guys. In real life it’s like that. You don’t necessarily care about what was back home, either for you, or the other guy. That’s a whole different world, one which you can’t afford to think about in order to concentrate on the problem at hand.

Great acting, and realistic background, makes this a good movie for anyone looking to examine more closely what everyday life was for the average soldier in the First World War. I’m one of those. Having never met my Grandfather; who fought in the war; I have always been interested in what he went through. It started when I first read “All Quiet on the Western Front” in Junior High School. That was one of the first pieces of the puzzle for me. This movie helps to fill in another piece of what the war was like for him, and how it changed who he was forever.

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