Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Film Fave #12: Das Boot

"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


DarkoV said...

Funny you should bring this movie up. A couple of nights ago, I was watching Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, two ubber-men if there ever were any, in Run Silent, Run Deep. Awful special effects, as expected but the story was tense, what with all those jutted jaws getting in each other's way in a tight confined space. As the guy introducing this movie on a public station inflected deeply,"With good actors, minimal space, semblance of being underwater you can;t help but have conflict, which is the Mother of all Drama".

I love Das Boot. It's neck and neck with K-19 and THe Enemy Below as my all-time favorite submarine movie (I think there is a seperate category for these movies. If you can have gangster movies and cowboy movies, you can have submarine movies. For me at least, sub movies are seperate even from war movies.)

Hope I don't have to be a Mennonite (not that there is anything wrong with that) to get thrills from war movies. Not having been in one (a war, I mean), I always wondered how my view of any war movie would be. Would I like them at all or find them annoyingly simple or, even worse, immensely familiar.

Whisky Prajer said...

My great-uncle, a WW2 vet, refuses to watch war movies. A friend of mine persuaded his uncle to see Saving Private Ryan, and the old man's only comment was, "He got the sound right." Which would be more than enough, I would think.