Passchendaele

2008

Passchendaele

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,523

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Movie Info

Follows the exploits of Canadian soldiers leading up to one of the key battles of World War I that was fought over nearly four months in 1917.

Cast

Paul Gross
as Michael Dunne
Joe Dinicol
as David Mann
Meredith Bailey
as Cassie Walker
Gil Bellows
as Royster
Jim Mezon
as Randolph Dobson-Hughes
Don Bland
as RSM Watchman
Tom Carey
as Witchell
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Critic Reviews for Passchendaele

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (9)

  • As a director, Gross paints in big, emotive strokes, and though his dialogue often feels too tied to historical fact, this old-fashioned, patriotic war movie has its heart in the right place.

    September 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It's hard to overstake how unimaginably dreadful is Passchendaele, a First World War drama that does Canada's already ropey film-making reputation no favours whatsoever.

    September 4, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Director-star Paul Gross may have noble intentions, but his film is plodding, to put it kindly: filled with over-scrubbed sets, glutinous tinkling music, and desperately pedestrian dialogue exchanges.

    September 4, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • For most of its length the film keeps to the home front, saving its dramatic switch to the Western Front for the final reel, by which point the plot has nailed its rather novelettish colours to the mast.

    September 4, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The scenes may be embarrassing, but at least Gross can't be accused of playing it safe.

    October 17, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • A war movie that can't make up its mind whether war is bad or something one can be proud of.

    October 3, 2008

Audience Reviews for Passchendaele

  • Sep 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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. Sincerely, Sean Devine
    Sean D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2010
    the events of ww1 and a soldior wounded returning home to his home in canada, falling in love, and getting conflicted , when the womens brother is keen to get out there and fight, even though hes declared unfit to do so, a well maeningfull story, which does play very tv movie of the week when depicting events back home, im thinking matbe this is a canadian tv movie, but events before and after set in europe and in the trenches are well done and have value to them, very well made, so certainly a film of two halfes at times but cewrtainly worth its time
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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