Tuesday, May 28, 2024

War Machine (formerly Commadante) (2023) Open Roads 2024

The true story of an Italian submarine at the outset of WW2 which sank a Belgian cargo ship (before it entered the war) that was carrying a British cargo. The submariners rescued the crew of the Belgian ship and  took them safety.

WAR MACHINE had it’s name changed very recently from COMMADANTE. I understand it makes it a more sale-able title but it is entirely misleading. This is the story of men at war trying to remain civilized not about a submarine hunting the enemy.(Don’t go into expecting constant sea battles)

WAR MACHINE was at the top of my must see list for this year’s Open Roads. We don’t normally get WW 2 submarine films from anyone other than the US or Germany so I was interested to see how another set of filmmakers might go about telling a tale.  I was not disappointed.

Focusing on the men and an act of humanity the film the film raises all sorts of questions, the most pressing of which is why are we fighting wars when it means a loss of humanity? I don’t have an answer for that, but the film caused me to ponder a lot of questions that we should all be pondering considering the fact that the world is currently hosting numerous acts of aggression. It is a meaty discussion of what our right path should be.

This is a well-acted  and glorious looking film. It’s a film that takes it’s time to set the table before plunging us into the central drama and we are better for it.

While some people have argued that the film is a kind of white washing of what the Italian Navy did during the war, fact is that this a true story. The ship that was sunk was neutral so the rules of war play out differently. I’m sure had this been later in the was things would have been different. Regardless of when it takes place it still raises questions that need to be pondered.

I really liked this film a great deal.


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