I’m not completely sure how to summarize Passchendaele – the most expensive Canadian production ever made (drum roll please). On one hand, I admire Paul Gross and the story he wanted to show and tell, but on the other hand, the film just gets bogged down by simply too much melodrama and cheesy romance.

Kraft Foods could invent another flavour for Kraft Dinner. Bleh! Seriously, I wanted to throw up. Not from the horrors of World War I (admirably depicted) but the “romance” angle and the family bickering just became painful to watch on-screen. I’d rather face the Germans in no man’s land and take a bullet for this great country than watch anymore. But high marks Mr. Gross for making a World War I film (not many of those around), and a Canadian one at that eh!?! But I think you should have stuck to telling a “war story” and turned the romance volume down (instead of the other way around). I wanted to punch actor Joe Dinicol in the face though. I HATED his David Mann character. But, I wonder who’s to blame – either his poorly written character (a sheer agony to watch) or his acting skills. Maybe both. Also, a ridiculous “love scene” between Paul Gross and Caroline Dhavernas went on forever, and was completely unnecessary. That alone almost killed the movie for me.

Overall, Paul Gross’ film gets a mild recommendation from me. When the DVD comes out, I plan to make my own edit (kidding or course). It’ll be a short film indeed, but more effective and powerful than sitting through about 80 minutes of pure sap. That sap even puts Hallmark to shame. But I have to respect Paul for trying to be ambitious with his passion project, inspired by his grandfather’s experience in that terrible war. You’ve been warned…


~ by misterchristian on December 16, 2008.

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