Which war film most impresses you? It's not my favourite genre but some brilliant movies have been made on the subject.
Kathryn Bigelow's historic Best Director Oscar was earned for The Hurt Locker set in Baghdad. Watching that one left me shattered but admiring of the director's balance between awfulness and ordinary human behaviour. Black Hawk Down was, I thought, quite hideously effective.
The Vietnam War gave Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now, and you can work your way back through World War II in A Bridge Too Far and The Desert Rats to the World War I classics All Quiet On The Western Front and Renoir's Grand Illusion.
Of course, war films aren't always as uncompromisingly depressing as most of these. In The Great Escape, Steve McQueen's motorcycle getaway, accompanied by Elmer Bernstein's score, is triumphant. If you prefer your comedy wry, then Kubrick's Dr Strangelove is a delight and Mike Nichols version of Catch-22 has its moments.
Then there's M*A*S*H, set in the Korean War but deploring the one in Vietnam, and funnier than its subject matter should have allowed. As was the TV series which followed. And speaking of TV series, McHale's Navy and Hogan's Heroes were unashamedly sitcoms.
Lacking first-hand experience, my images of war tend to be formed by the limited amount I see in the media but mostly by these iconic fictional depictions. And it's hard to get them out of my mind or to forget the ordinary soldiers who are sent to fight in these conflicts.
Which is why I never know whether to laugh or cry when the clue 'Army gesture' comes up in puzzles and the answer, rather than being any of a range of possibilities in response to the difficulties of a soldier's situation, is always SALUTE.
You need to be signed in to post a comment.