Monday, March 26, 2007

FGFC: War is hell. Is that supposed to be what this is?

You know, I really love doing these Final Girl Film Club reviews. Do you know why? It means I end up watching something I wouldn't normally go out of my way to see. Usually, something I've never even heard of, like Deathwatch. Which just happens to be this month's movie.

It's World War I, the oft ignored older brother of World War II, that serves as the backdrop. A group of English soldiers comes under attack by German troops. In the aftermath of the battle, they find themselves wandering through the fog, where they stumble upon a German trench. The trench is manned by a couple of Germans who seem much more frightened of what's in the trench than the English soldiers.

They capture the trench to find that there are more dead people here than your average cemetery. As they get to the work of making the trench smaller and easier to defend, one of the soldiers is attacked by a mud man. The mud man then gets killed by Andy Serkis, who seems to really enjoy it. Serkis really is not a nice guy.

The attack prompts the soldiers to round up all the bodies and put them into one central area of the trench, which I'm sure makes for a wonderful smell. Yuck. After this, people start dying. The bullet chewing guy has to sop jerkin off to investigate a noise, and he gets killed by barbed wire scarecrows in the basement. Then, the guy who liked his hair gets shot by the captain. The scotsman gets shot by the cuckoo nutso bible guy. The wounded soldier gets mercy killed by Shakespeare after the rats eat his legs. Bible guy kills the doctor and Shakespeare kills bible guy. Anyone else was killed, with apparent glee, by Serkis. In the end, only Shakespeare and the German prisoner are still alive.

This gets us to the end. Which means, if you haven't seen it, and would not like me to ruin the ending for you, turn back now.

Last chance.

I'm going for it.

Fuck it. Things happen throughout the movie that really don't make much sense. This appears to be by design. No attempt is ever made to explain why the soldiers are turning on each other. Is it the horrors of war? Is it the gas that's making them battier than a belfry? Or, is it something more? Did they die in the opening battle and pass into limbo/purgatory? Maybe it's Shakespeare's personal hallucination. He could have been injured in the battle and is in a coma somewhere, dreaming. That could explain why you hear artillery fire without seeing the damage it causes.

Personally, I think that they died in the battle and wandered through the fog and into the trench for some form of judgment. This would make the German St Peter I suppose. Or, someone like that. The trench would be the way that the troop must atone for their sins. Everyone but Shakespeare would be judged to be unworthy, while Shakespeare passes into Heaven. And then,

Shakespeare: I saved you. I tried to help you.
German: You did, Charlie. Only you tried to save me

After Shakespeare is released to pass over, another troop stumbles onto the trench following the EXACT same sequence of events as the first. Perhaps this means that by failing the test, the rest of the troop is doomed to repeat it. Either as their Hell, or perhaps just until they get it right.

Despite the confusion it left me with (or perhaps because of it) I think I liked this movie. There were a lot of parts that left me with a distinct "what the fuck" kind of feeling (and not the good one). The more I think about it though, the more I like it. While I don't think it was perfect by any stretch, and I'm not sure I would ever tell someone "oh my god, you have to see this" it was definitely worth watching. 7 dead bodies with your boot in their stomach out of 10.


Nik! said...

That guy looks kinda tough.


Unknown said...

Of course...he was Gollum.