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DVD Review: Saints & Soldiers

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This is a film that young filmmakers working with low budgets should study. Made for around $750,000.00, this movie delivers more than most multi-million dollar blockbusters – including other war movies.

What is most impressive about this film is the script by Geoffrey Panos and Matt Whitaker. While not the most taut screenplay even written, it is very sincere and real. The slow build to the battle scene in the final act works well to develop the characters enough so you care when they are in danger.

This movie goes in the same direction as some other recent war films like Saving Private Ryan and We Were Soldiers by showing the enemy as other soldiers not inhuman minions. This film risks its believability to humanize the Germans by having one of the American soldiers come across a German soldier he knows. This is a serious risk for the filmmakers to make since the odds of it happening are remote at best and it comes across as forced. I believe they succeed with this because of the reason this meeting is in the film and how it fits in the piece as a whole.

This film is the child of the LDS church. Many reviews make a big deal out of this. I honestly don’t care. I’m not Mormon and I don’t particularly embrace a good deal of their views. This doesn’t mean I’m such a bigot as some other reviewers apparently are and believe these folks don’t deserve a voice. I welcome them aboard and wish them all the luck in the world. As this film is concerned, unless told, you wouldn’t know it was made by a Mormon, a Muslim or Catholic. It’s a moral movie with some realistic theological discussion. Pay no mind to the religion hating reviews, they’re out of line.

I was very impressed with the final battle. Given very little resources, director Ryan Little presents a very real engagement that brings you down to the soldier’s level. This fight scene is like the rest of the film, small in scale but huge in result.

I fully recommend this movie in particular for you war film fans. This may slip under your radar since it is an indie film. Trust me, this is worth looking for.

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  • Chris

    I agree that the American Mormon soldier comming across a German soldier he knew is hard to beleive. However, this was based off of an actuall event from the documentary “Saints at War”. A group of American soldiers were hiding in a small villiage when they spotted two German scouts. When the Germans saw them one reached for his gun and was shot by a Mormon soldeir known for never missing. The second German made a run for it and got away after several missed shots by the American. Amazingly the German soldier quickly returned with his entire platton under a white flag. It was only later that the American, from Arizona, found out that the German soldier was also Mormon, having been baptized and converted by a Mormon missionary from Arizona.

  • http://www.newyorkdollmovie.com/ Tony

    Just because the film was made by LDS people (I believe byu film graduates), doesn’t make this great film a “child of the LDS church”. Would you call Jurassic Park a child of the Jewish faith because Steven Speilberg made it? The movie was not financed or endorsed by the LDS church. If you want to see a great movie made by a lds film maker, check out New York Doll. http://www.newyorkdollmovie.com/

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Looks interesting, thanks for the review.

  • http://www.HollywoodFilmInvestors.com Jed Merrill

    Saints and Soldiers is one of the most moving war movies I have ever seen. It is based on true, real to life wartime stories and human interaction, not Command and Conquer the video game or the mind of a script writer who has never been to war. As a former soldier myself, I stand behind the miracles and realities as depicted in this film. I am also intrigued by the morality and ethical issues explored by the filmmakers through these fictional characters who are composites of real people and true war stories as found in the “Saints at War” documentary referenced by another reviewer.

    Last year I met Ryan Little and Adam Abel’s experienced international distribution consultant, Gil Aglaure. They are working together on a mainstream action film called “On the Edge.” Studios and investors (like me) should take a look at these guys. If they can pull off a film like Saints and Soldiers (with about a dozen best picture awards) at such a low budget, think what they will do with a studio budget?

    Appropriate and relevant for all religions, not just Mormons (Latter-day Saints) and even those who don’t believe at all.

    Very impressive.

    Jed Merrill
    Hollywood Film Investors, LLC

  • clive langley

    I thought that this was one of the best war films ever done. It was not a run of the mill story of the Americans winning the war with help from John Wayne. It showed how real men behave in battle and was very thought provoking about how predjudiced we sometimes see the world. It has a great lesson for people of all faiths.

    Clive Langley
    Vista , CA.

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joanie

    Compelling input from all! I’m adding this movie to the list of must-sees.

    And Clive, what are you doing in my backyard? We’re practically neighbors. Scary, isn’t it?

  • http://www.templestark.com/blog Temple A. Stark

    This post was chosen by the section editor as a BC pick of the week. Go HERE (link) to find out why.

    And thank you
    Temple

  • Chris

    Just a prop/vehicle question for anyone reading these posts. Shortly after the Malmedy massacre scene in the film’s opening, there is a long shot that includes what appears to be an authentic King Tiger, a very rare heavy German battle tank rarely, if ever, seen in a movie. The only one that even starts is in a museum in France, so I was curious as what the filmmakers used to create this image. Thanks.

    Chris