Overlord - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Overlord Reviews

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½ April 22, 2015
ok WWII pic post WWII
June 18, 2014
A haunting war film, that suffers from a lack of any real substance.
May 21, 2013
A great technical achievement and a unique take on a soldiers life. It's focus on the mundane reminds one that the "excitement" of war is but a flash compared to the endless time allowed for contemplation, fear, confusion, and the myriad other emotions that a soldier must face in between facing bullets.
February 6, 2013
Not a Long Day For Everyone

Probably the most astonishing thing about this movie is how much of it was filmed over thirty years before it was made. Director Stuart Cooper made it in cooperation with the Imperial War Museum. Much of the film that doesn't actually have the movie's characters in it was in fact filmed during World War II. I didn't know that until I was watching the special features, so I was indeed watching for faces I recognized. Inasmuch as I would have recognized them at all; aside from the odd episode of [i]Red Dwarf[/i] or some such, none of the major characters have done anything I've seen. Many of them haven't even done much of anything that I've heard of. However, that combines with the period footage to make it more realistic; in [i]The Longest Day[/i], you're too busy thinking, "Hey, that's Sean Connery!" or whoever. The characters here are just ordinary people, and having them as fairly obscure actors makes that even better.

Young Tom Beddoes (Brian Stirner) has been called up. It is World War II, and he is one of thousands upon thousands of young men who will be among those on landing craft on the beaches of Normandy, not that Tom knows where exactly the invasion will be. Tom is just another private. There is nothing particularly unusual about his experiences. He goes through training. He is shuttled about the country for reasons he doesn't understand. He makes a few friends. He even meets a Girl (Julie Neesam), though of course by the time he meets her, there are only days left before he will be crossing the Channel. He will not meet her on Monday after all. He turns twenty-one while waiting for the invasion, and he is certain that it is to be his last birthday. Of course, he is too young to remember World War I, but he knows about it, and the thing that it most obvious about World War I is that not all the young men who went to fight in France ever returned from there.

Of course, I've also read enough to know that merely being certain you were going to die wasn't actually proof that you would. Perhaps young men certain they would not survive the war took more foolish risks than others, but perhaps not. Being certain that you're going to survive can make you do stupid things, too, after all. It is a fact of war that a certain percentage of those who go to fight will die, whether they think they're going to or not. Honestly, if I were one of the young men on those landing craft, it would be hard to believe that it was possible to survive. Plenty of people did; among other things, Cooper was influenced by the D-Day photography of Robert Capa, who survived the landing himself (and was killed by a landmine in Vietnam, but being a war photographer is a dangerous job). The Criterion release features excerpts of two diaries that also helped shape the film, and both of the diaries' authors were still alive when the movie was made--possibly even when the DVD was released.

The film manages to be both stylized and realistic at the same time. We spend a fair amount of the story inside Tom's head, and the images he creates are not quite like the real world. Every girl he's met since getting called up is the same girl, for example, and I don't think his thoughts of her match what actually happened with any of them. It seems that Cooper had a vague outline of the story before he actually worked out some of the details, and he was in many ways more interested in the look and feel than the actual story he ended up telling. He didn't want to tell the same war story that everyone else had. Oddly enough, this meant he wanted to tell the story that more people experienced. No one in this movie does anything all that interesting, nothing that would be remembered in years to come. Tens of thousands of unexceptional stories went into the scope of D-Day. Though of course, every story was interesting to the person who lived it.

In [i]Johnny and the Dead[/i], Terry Pratchett gives us World War I veteran Tommy Atkins, and I kept thinking about him as I watched this movie. We don't actually know as much about Tommy Atkins as we do about Tom Beddoes. He only appears in one scene, and he's dead at the time. We never get inside his head, and of course, it is many years since the war. However, we learn about him because literally every person in his brigade died in the Battle of the Somme but him. He was the one who lived, and he went home and lived an unexceptionable life. The only interesting thing he did was survive. We don't know what happens to the young men with whom Tom Beddoes grew up; this was one lesson the British military did learn. Tom Beddoes wasn't in a "Pals Brigade." I would imagine Tommy Atkins spent the rest of his life wondering what was special about him. The terrible secret of war is that it was really luck--good or bad depends on how you feel about being the survivor, I suppose.
½ May 12, 2012
After having watched this movie, I have but one important thing to say: Give me back the 82 minutes of life I wasted watching this movie. This was one of the worst war pictures I have ever watched The picture should have been put in a different category like worst movie ever.
December 29, 2011
So understated that it reinforces the tragedy. Every soldier had a back story and we see one such story here. There's nothing glamorous about this soldier's life, nothing to grip Hollywood's attention but this one individual soldier stared death in the face without flicnhing, without making anguished cries about how his impending death was for national pride and honour. There's just a futile resignation to the inevitable consequences of sending this soldier into action. It's sombre and the sheer ordinariness of his life makes it easy for the viewer to get perspective of what each and every soldier was putting on the line. A very effective and strangely apolitical war film, well worth catching a glimpse of.
November 20, 2011
An ingenious idea to combine real wartime footage from England's WWII archives, blending the footage seamlessly with a narrative story about a soldier's journey toward D-Day, "Overlord" stands above other war movies in the perspective of reality. The surreal moments of solider Tom envisioning his death in the battlefield over and over again is one of the highlights of the movie as well, mixing again reality with the dream. Ones looking for a big battle epic war movie will get nothing out of this movie, but something far more haunting.
October 13, 2011
Sounds good, good try, but absolutely fails to deliver. Not really worth your time except for the conflict of generations aspect.
½ October 2, 2011
One of the most original war movies I've ever seen.
June 15, 2011
A very unique, captivating look into the landscape of War. The film follows Tom, a rather typical britain man, who goes into military service. We follow Tom from him arriving at bootcamp til the days leading up to D-Day. One of the interesting aspects of Overlord is that about 1/3 of the film is stock footage taken during WWII. The film tells Tom's journney while intercutting WII footage to quite harrowing effect at times. The intercutting between stock footage and our protagonist journey really creates a strong realistic atmosphere. Its a harrowing look into WWII from the viewpoint of just an average joe, and it really shouldn't be missed.
½ April 1, 2011
A good use of mixed media from WWII, well thought out. Although this brings the appearance of a long drawn out movie. At times the protagonist appears one dimensional and extremely apathetic. A shock in comparison to other films upon the same topic.
½ January 7, 2011
After having watched this movie, I have but one important thing to say: Give me back the 82 minutes of life I wasted watching this movie. This was one of the worst war pictures I have ever watched The picture should have been put in a different category like worst movie ever.
½ November 19, 2010
The story of the main character is a little strange at times, but the archival footage is amazing.
September 24, 2010
One ofthe best WWII movies ever that was rarely seen when it was released in 1975. Seamlessly integrates archival footage with the fictional narrative resulting in a truly unique experience filled with magnetism and awe.
August 14, 2010
Odd mix of reality & fantasy, doesn't always work.
½ July 5, 2010
Stanley Kubrick sagte über diesen Film "Das Einzige, was mit Overlord nicht stimmt, ist, dass er anderhab Stunden zu kurz ist.". Ich möchte dem Meister diesbezüglich wirklich nicht widersprechen, wenn "The man" etwas sagt, dann hat das Hand und Fuß. Was ich nur wirklich sehr schade finde, ist, dass dieser Film bis heute weitesgehend unbekannt ist. Ich kann nur allen raten sich diese kleine aber wirklich toll gemachte Produktion anzusehen!
½ June 23, 2010
An extraordinary and different war film, superbly crafted by director Stuart Cooper. The scenes of intimacy in this film are spellbinding and bravura at the same time. The musical score for this film is very beautiful. A superb achivement all around.
June 8, 2010
awesome director. Just watched overlord, what a beautiful work of art.
June 7, 2010
... den Krieg erzählbar machen, das interessiert Cooper überhaupt nicht. OVERLORD ist ein melancholisches Gedicht über den Krieg, und gleichzeitig eine Reportage. - - - Mehr dazu im Juli im neuen Schnitt!
May 25, 2010
slow and lyrical, interesting mashup using real historical footages
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