Tuesday, November 22, 2005

To End All Wars

I thought this was just going to be another telling of "Bridge on the River Kwai". I think it is the same basic story and may be based on the same source material (though "River Kwai" is also from a Pierre Boulle novel). But, the basic form of the story and the origins may be the same, but midway through the movie it is clear that "To End All Wars" is going in a different direction. We are still set in World War II and we are still in Burma and Thailand building the railroad. There are still British Prisoners of War (Scottish this time) and one American (this time played by Keifer Sutherland) and they are being poorly treated in the prison camp and made to build this railroad on meager rations. They are brutalized for not bowing, and for doing anything out of line or that would make the Japanese "lose face".

But through the movie there is a string of hope, of grace. That through kindness in the face of brutality, of turning the other cheek and of sacrifice, that the prisoners can gain respect (from their captors and self respect) as well as better treatment. The railroad is almost an afterthought here.

I had never heard of this movie until a friend recommended it to me, and then another friend. I still didn't expect too much from "To End All Wars", but it turns out that this is a quality movie. Well made, well acted, and very moving. There is a spiritual side to "To End All Wars" with a bit of the Christian teaching running through it. It's not overwhelming or preachy, but it is effective and there is a very strong and overt Christ image but not quite the way it was expected and how that plays out isn't such that it bangs your head with Christ.

Well done. I like when a movie I haven't heard of and clearly did not get a major release turns out to be a good one.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I'm glad you liked it. I wondered if you would.