Passchendaele - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Passchendaele Reviews

Page 1 of 33
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2010
Passchendaele is one of the worst films I have ever seen. This film is terrible. The film starts off well enough, but ends up being long and boring. This is a terrific example of how not to do a war film. This film probably has about 15 minutes of actual combat fighting. Nothing more. The acting, and script is terrible. I can't believe that some people think that this is a terrific tribute to those brave men who gave their lives so valiantly for the cause of freedom. This film is a stain on their memory, Paul Gross doesn't know anything on how to make an effective war film, and this proves it. A shameful "war" film about one of Canada's finest hours in battle. This film should be remade and should be told by a director who actually knows the source material.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2008
An incrediable war drama that has it all, romance, drama, action and amasing characters. A splendid, powerful, deeply moving and unforgettable movie. A bold, passionate, well-crafted and patriotic piece of Canadain film. Director and star, Paul Gross gives an honest, riveting and very dedicated performance and also proves to be a promising and visionary filmmaker. Gross crafts a fearless and tremendous historical epic filled with romance and strong battle sequences. A brave solute to the men who fought in the time of the war. One of the best and most excting war films of it's kind since Saving Private Ryan. It's stunning, thrilling and exhilerating. A spectacular and satisfying character driven story. A masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2009
This a sweeping epic of love,courage and faith at the time of world war 1.Yes you may you seen it before but it the key players that keeps this from being just other pearl harbour! It is directed with such passion and fine detail that sweeps you in and then theres the intenes battle sences that are second to none since Saving Private ryan!!All in all an in grossing film that need to be watched and is another slice of history..
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2009
Great Canadian actor, great Canadian story, great moment in Canadian history... and yet, it failed to impress. It was formulaic and a little flat all in all, the love story was a little too predominant and the dialogue was awfully stagy. Melodrama in its worst incarnation. It was kind of like Pearl Harbor, in the sense that I couldn't invest in any of the characters because the writing just didn't feel authentic... ironic, in a way, as a lot of this film comes from the true story of writer/director/star Paul Gross's grandfather.

Passchendaele is well-shot - visually impressive and nice to watch - and that Gross raised the budget to make this film is a Canadian epic in and of itself. Unfortunately, the fruit of his labours falls short of being the Canadian masterpiece it's been trumpeted as.
Super Reviewer
½ September 17, 2011
In "Passchendaele," Sergeant Michael Dunne(Paul Gross, who also wrote and directed) is the sole survivor of a deadly encounter with German forces in World War I. Waking up in the hospital, he is greeted by the warm face of Sarah Mann(Caroline Dhavernas), a nurse. Returning home to Calgary months later, he is greeted by the less than warm faces of a tribunal convened to decide whether or not he should be returned to France to face charges of desertion. Instead, they decide that he suffers from neurasthenia and transfer him to work as a recruiter under Dobson-Hughes(Jim Mezon). While there, Michael turns down the application of David(Joe Dinicol), Sarah's brother, due to his asthma. He is trying to impress the family of his ladylove Cassie(Meredith Bailey) with his suicidal charm.

"Passchendaele" is a solid antiwar film with a romantic subplot that does nothing to detract from the movie as a whole. As director, Paul Gross reverses the usual tendency of actor-directors by emphasizing the visual over the performances which comes in handy not only in the battle scenes but also in capturing the beautiful Canadian countryside. There are other interesting stylistic choices here like muting the sound at key moments and even cross-cutting between a medical lecture and a love scene which allows for applause at just the right moment. Still, there is just something about Paul Gross on horseback as he makes for a charismatic lead while also breathing depth into his character who has his share of problems and issues.(He's not the only one as it comes out late how oedipal some of this is but don't worry I know a doctor in Vienna who can do something about that.) Those issues involve a meaningless war and how it recruits and churns out soldiers, as the movie also shows off the ugly side of patriotism.
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2011
I remember reading about this movie in the paper before it was released. The article focused on the immense time and detail it took to film the war sequences. I showed this to my roommate and we both decided to go see it and take our female neighbours with us.

We went in expecting a war movie. And for the opening sequence, we thought it was just that.

20 minutes later though, we realized we were had. And our neighbours laughed as my roommate and I exchanged looks of "What the hell did we get ourselves into."

I will say this about the movie: the action sequences were very well done. It effectively conveys the muddy hell that was Passchendaele. Also, it shows a side of prejudice rarely discussed: Canadian discrimination towards Germans during World War I and blackballing of WWI soldiers that came home due to the gas attacks.

That warrants half a star.

Other than that, it was "Pearl Harbour" Canadian style. But at least "Pearl Harbour" had Alec Baldwin and the "Doolittle Raids." "Passchendaele" is less about Passchendaele and more of a love story. It is a love story not so cleverly disguised as a war movie.

The script is so cheesy and bad that even James Cameron would say "WOW! This sucks!" Gross sunk $20 million into this movie, you'd think he would have hired a decent screenwriter or some decent actors.

These are two hours of my life I want back.

That being said, I would like to write a response letter to Paul Gross.

Dear Paul Gross,

Fuck you too.

Sean Devine
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2008
Billed as Canada's great war movie, Passchendaele spends very little time focusing on the details of this war, but instead the repercussions of war and how it affects the principle characters.The first half the movie is set in Calgary, in the time of war. The second half transports us off to the Passchendaele battle. Both parts are done very well; mind you, the war scenes are moreso the "Ra Ra, look what we Canadians can do" type, However, there are a few issues keeping Passchendaele from being the historical piece it aims to be.

First, the romance. I have no problem with romance in a war movie, but Paul Gross wrote himself some pretty terrible dialogue for these scenes. Secondly, the ending sequence. I don't mind Christian symbolism in a movie but, come on. Seriously. Also the romantic conversation about the painting had my eyes rolled firmly into my head throughout. The ~very~ last scene in the film is powerful.

So, in the end, you get an enjoyable war movie, but not a film which will go down as being historically important as Gross had aimed.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2009
Not a bad film at all. Little slow, little weak and the action scenes seemed to revolve around lots of soldiers getting blown up then spun up in the air....It just seemed a little light weight for my liking in both the love stakes and the warfare. Shame cause other than that it was okay.
September 7, 2015
I took this out of the library. "Remember the rule -- don't die!" GTFO!
September 6, 2015
The war scenes are very accurate to the time of Passchendaele and the Flanders which was flooded all the time and good acting from everybody involved.
War realism is worth th e5 starts. Who wants to sit in a shell filled with water for a couple of days.
July 19, 2015
A terrible homage to the soldiers who died in Flandres. The movie has little to do with Passchendaele (how can you talk Passhendaele without assessing Haig's role?) and much more a cheap soap opera...Trash like Inglorious Bastards and Fury.
½ June 17, 2015
I do not see the same film the negative reviews that preceed me see. I see an excellent presentation of the horrors of war. I see a superb feeling for the godawful feeling of killing another man - and not being sure why. I see an accurate depiction of what the amalgamation of class feeling and nationalist hatred does to a population. I saw complete ugliness amongst the classes - and amongst the feelings of the commoners against "the foe".

One must recall what Pogo said. "We have met the enemy, and they are us."

I have personally seen violence. I have myself met dismemberment and death. I have known the irrational devotion to a cause, that leads one, blindly, into unforeseen consequences.

This movie does an excellent job of showing the awfulness of war. And, showing us the why of the awfulness. The plot line is a bit O'Henry-ish, in coincidence and all that. But, the story is much bigger than the plot, and the dialogue.

All war is violent. That is its nature. By that very nature, war involves heartbreak and sorrow. This film does an excellent job of reminding us that this is the case. And it does an excellent job of portraying trench warfare in Europe in particular.

The story of this film? 3 stars, not more. But the film? At least 4 stars, because it is as good as a documentary at telling us what war is about. I say bravo.
May 3, 2015
The movie was very well done, he has such a way of capturing the moments. i loved it !!!
½ March 18, 2015
The basis for this movie is the story of the grandfather of the actor, writer, and producer. The battle scenes were executed superbly, and the historical accuracy of the back story is with in the realm of possibility. Every movie fictionalizes dialog and action to move the store along, this one is no different. However, it is historical fiction, not a documentary. It is well acted, directed and the cinematography and editing are tops. One in ten Canadian soldiers did not make it home from France and Belgium. Their bravery and audacity as fighters in the Great War was surpassed only by their ability to endure the elements they were forced to live, fight and die in. This movie can be enjoyed by history buffs looking for a Ken Burns perspective and movie buffs looking for the Stephen Spielberg grandeur and romance.
November 28, 2014
I thought this film was pretty good. Especially when you read what inspired it
½ July 8, 2014
Passchendaele is another one of those films that falls under the category of a romance taking place in the midst of a tragedy...type...thing. I don't know if there is a genre like that, but there should be, because there's more than enough movies to give it its own classification. For me, a lot of these films have really been hit or miss, because I often find that the romance and drama between the characters outweighs the significance of the event the story takes place in. Titanic is a great example of this formula working quite well, while Pearl Harbor is an example of just how terrible this formula can be. Now enter Passchendaele. Unlike those other films previously mentioned, Passchendaele is a CANADIAN film revolving around a romance between a soldier and a nurse, while they are caught in the midst of the battle of Passchendaele, a key battle in the First World War in which Canadians played a significant role in. What I think this film does really well is telling a sort of classic romance tale, while also painting an accurate picture of the brutal battle. I thought it tackled both parts of the story pretty well, which is all the more impressive considering the low budget of the film. A sweetly told love story, and a fitting tribute to the Canadian soldiers who gave their lives during the battle of Passchendaele.
½ February 15, 2014
I'm not english mother tongue and maybe I did not get all the dialogues but honesty I like it. Maybe the movie, sometimes, is very slow but Gross shows the horror's war efficiently. The battle scene is terrific, modern war turns in medieval war. I think this is a half-war-movie and half-love-movie. This is a piece of canadian history. If you want to see bad fictions on war watch italian tv, trust me I'm italian.
½ February 11, 2014
This film is far better that you'd believe from the reviews. The final battle scene is horrific and was hard to watch because of it's authenticity.
½ July 14, 2012
Could have (and should have) been far better than it is. Canadian budget constraints are not at fault here, partially because the Australians have been able to make far better war films with far less cash, and partially because this is one of the biggest budget Canadian films ever produced, but mostly because it's awful. That battle sequences - stripped of their tedious melodrama - contain as good a production value as Band of Brothers; the uniforms, equipment, units, and battlefield appearance are all broadly historically accurate. It is however (and there is no way of getting around this) a massive steaming shit. I shall overlook the small problems with stereotypical characters (token First Nations soldier, pompous fat cowardly Brit), the glaring historical inaccuracies (80% of the men who joined the CEF between 1914-1918 were born in Britain, so spare me the pious 'us and them' post colonial harping), and even the simply appalling melodramatic plot; let's just focus on the script. Stock characters parroting stock lines doesn't even come into it, Passchendaele presents the viewer with stock characters parroting borderline incomprehensible lines. There is a refrain carried forth between the two terribly mismatched leads (Gross is 20 years older than his supposed love interest for christ's sake), which one feels is intended to be poetic, but is actually no different from the work of a six year old child trying to fill up space on a homework assignment. This refrain was excruciating the first time the it was delivered, describing the Canadian scenery the way a first year French student describes his clothes (Mon, pantalon, est, noir. Ma, chemise, est, noir), but by the third go recital all one can here is one's inner monologue saying 'oooh for fuck's sake'. What is most annoying about this is that Canada (hell, the English speaking world!) is desperate for a decent film about the First World War; an Anglophone answer to Juenet's A Very Long Engagement. We deserve one, given that the last great English language WWI film was Gallipoli (1981). But this is emphatically not it. Thus it is a missed opportunity. It's money thrown at a sub-par made for TV script. It's (for the most part) perfectly decent actors led astray by the sense that because they're 'doing this for Canada', they're doing a good thing. It's just bad. In fact, it's East Enders (Days of Our Lives for the North American audience) with a war going on.
Page 1 of 33