War Requiem (1990)
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as Wilfred Owen
as Old Soldier, Old Soldier/Narrator
as Enemy Mother
as Unknown Soldier
as German Soldier
as Charge Sister/Britannia
as Blinded Soldier
Critic Reviews for War Requiem
A stunning visual film that's combined with the spectacular interpretation of composer Benjamin Britten's 1961 orchestral and oratorio masterpiece.
Like nearly all of Derek Jarman's films, his War Requiem is an uneven work where it's often easier to admire what was attempted more than what was actually achieved.
The rhythm of the images attunes the viewer to the music's components.
Audience Reviews for War Requiem
The powerful "War Requiem" starts with an old man(Laurence Olivier, in his last screen appearance, more or less) being pushed in his wheelchair by a nurse(Tilda Swinton) while regaling her with tales of his experiences in World War I. That was the same war that poet Wilfred Owen(Nathaniel Parker) served in and died towards the end of. On the surface, he is the subject of this film, as it follows him in a nonsequential fashion from basic training through the inhumanity he witnessed in the trenches, with rare moments of caring and sympathy. Along with this haunting imagery, there is also a good deal of Christian symbolism, which this being a Derek Jarman film, might offend one or two people. To describe his experiences, Owen used letters home and poetry which resonates to the present day(while the main setting is World War I, archival footage is shown from more recent wars) and the power of the written word is key here. Ironically, this is a movie without words, all sound coming from a requiem written by Benjamin Britten which contributes to form a grieving tribute to fallen soldiers of all eras.
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