"I was trying to create an action picture, a picture where you didn't care about what side they were on." Wolfgang Peterson
Mennonite fellas sure do love their war movies -- I'd be curious to see just how many families have a copy of Saving Private Ryan in their DVD library (a Father's Day gift for the Mennonite dad if ever there was one). And while SPR certainly rates as engaging, even thought-provoking entertainment, there's something about it that really bugs me. It seemed the more I thought about it, the less there was to consider. Spielberg can put together an incomparable set-piece, but he can't flesh out an idea.
Das Boot's set-piece -- the German U-Boat -- is deceptively constraining. Yet by staying inside that crummy metal tube, Peterson and his crew deliver the whole nihilistic emotional package of men at war. And despite Peterson's disingenuous claim, he manages to communicate some pretty hefty ideas, too -- because no-one knows better than a German just how important "what side they were on" really is.
Film Fave #11