King & Country [Blu-ray]
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Top Customer Reviews
As an anti-war film, King & Country holds few surprises, but that's not the point. Losey had worked with the great dramatist Bertolt Brecht, who believed that the content of a story mattered less than the way you told it. That logic is on display here. Losey is primarily concerned with criticizing the bureaucratic nature of military thinking and with exploring the dynamic contrasts between the upper-class officers and working-class enlisted men, each of whom understand duty and fate in very different ways. The movie is deliberately paced, but the running time is quite short, and the performances of the ensemble cast are uniformly excellent. Losey also avoids inadvertantly glorifying war, as so many otherwise sincere anti-war films do when they give us the vicarious thrill of battle by aestheticizing military conflict (like Kubrick's Paths of Glory) or when they give us solace in the male cameraderie of soldiers (like Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front). In that regard, King & Country is one of the more successful anti-war films because we never want to be with these characters even though we do sympathize with them.
VCI's DVD is pleasing but flawed.Read more ›
For a filmed play it is ironically in many ways more overtly stark and cinematic than any of Losey's other films, especially for a production that never moves from the soundstage. And what a soundstage - Peter Mullins' sordid ramshackle behind-the-lines set is quite astonishing, making a real virtue of its limited resources, at once claustrophobic and economical but also practical for the intricate camera movements Losey adopts, Denys Coop's naturalistic black and white cinematography putting the artificiality of more recent films like The Trench to shame.Read more ›
The issue here is that Private Hamp, during a battle, quietly almost instinctively backed off, just walked away. It seems he did not even know what he was doing. After three years in the trenches, blood, rain, death, horror, he had a moment when he just had to stop hearing the guns. And he walked, and he walked, and found himself quite a bit away from the battalion that he was serving. When he was caught, it was believed it was an open and shut case for desertion.
Indeed this is how Officer Hargreaves first understands his duty to defend the officer in the court martial. But as he questions the 23 year old unsophisticated soldier, he starts to think about what it must mean to serve for so long patriotically and watch every single other man in your company die. One man was simply blown to bits right next to Pvt Hamp. (Today, tours of duty are usually 12 months...so a 36 month tour of duty would be prejuducial to the sanity of the soldiers under our enlightened standards)
The defense turns on the definition between cowardice and shell shock. If the solider can be shown to be suffering from shell shock, Pvt Hamp might receive leniency during the court martial. But the problem here is that the mental damage to the soldier is gradual, not immediate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film would probably have received a better review if not for its similarity to the classic Kubrick film Paths of Glory. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Harvey L. Kaminski
During World War one, an English soldier walks away, planning to go home. He is caught and tried for desertion. Read morePublished 5 months ago by grendel
Bogard was a very fine British actor. Particularly good at letting the viewer in on his character's inner thoughts. Read morePublished 11 months ago by D. J. Leedham