Review of Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed


Movie Review: "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed" --

Rating: PG-13 (war violence)
Length: 94 minutes
Release date: August 17, 2012
Directed by: Ryan Little
Genre: War
Stars: 3 out of 5

Ryan Little is back again, directing a new war film for history buffs and action lovers. "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed" offers audiences in-depth views of World War II. From the battlefield to the home front, the film depicts the lives of soldiers in close detail. Much like the 2003 "Saints and Soldiers," the film isolates a few soldiers and tells their story, rather than focusing on a wide range of characters.

The movie focuses on a parachute team arriving in enemy territory in France, with the objective of accompanying and protecting the Allied Troops on their way to Berlin. Immediately upon landing, chaos erupts, as the enemy attacks viciously. In the confusion of battle, three paratroopers become separated from the team and run into a band of French resistance, who are desperate for freedom from Nazi rule. The French are worn down from fighting, and the three men band together under the Airborne Creed to help them, risking their own lives in the process.

The film offers the usual gritty insight of the horrors of war. There are the typical battle scenes, gripping shootouts, and buzzing planes that we've all learned to expect. However, in "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed," the scenes offer stunning cinematography. In many scenes, it doesn't feel as if it's a movie, which is a bonus for those who dislike overdone Hollywood productions. It's very refreshing to simply enjoy a war movie for what it offers rather than dealing with big-bang special effects to make up for the lack of a story.

This movie features blood, brutality, and rawness, like other war movies, but it also offers an intimate peek into the emotional toll of war. From lost loves to fallen friends, viewers see firsthand the carnage of war on all planes.

The film struck casting gold, with each actor filling his role nicely. Corbin Allred, who starred as Greer in "Saints and Soldiers," reappears in this film. He plays Rossi, a rough and tumble man who has loads of fight in him. David Nibley stars as Jones, a religious man of conviction who often struggles with his duties as a soldier. Finally, there is Curtis, played by Jasen Wade. Curtis is a romantic, who has a love at home whom he talks about often.

The biggest bone to pick with the characters is that viewers are left wanting more from them. While the film exposes the characters through their background stories, there is a sense of incompleteness. Learning a bit more about each character would have added some depth.

Despite the shortcomings of characterization, the film does bring up heavy themes that will leave viewers thinking. The sense of conflict about killing is present, and the main characters struggle wholeheartedly with thinking of Nazis as inhuman. Despite the kill-or-be-killed mentality of war, the men often struggle with the horrors they must commit in battle.

Women play strong roles in the film, which may come as a surprise, as most war movies keep the focus on the men fighting. Nichelle Aiden stars as Charlotte, the love that Curtis left behind. Besides playing a sweet girl that the audience is sure to adore, she is absolutely breathtaking. Her character's styling is fantastic, not only fitting the classic look of the time but also breaking barriers to still be considered stunning from today's perspective. In a stark contrast to the delicate Charlotte, there is Emilie, a strong sharpshooter played by Virginie Fourtina Anderson. The character of a woman in battle during World War II is rare, and Anderson certainly took the role by the horns.

Overall "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed" is a solid film. It stirs the senses, from loud, chaotic battle scenes to lifelike camera work that allows viewers to feel like they're truly in the movie. It evokes emotion but also allows the audience to get lost in the frenzy of battle if they so choose.

Should viewers flock to this one? Surely. The film is a successful account of battle, while giving viewers a bit to chew on later. Unlike many films, it gives the audience a chance to ponder bigger themes and concepts. Compassion and mortality are two hard things to face, and "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed" offers them both to viewers, with a heaping side of grim reality.