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Sunday, November 1, 2009

SWORD OF HONOUR (2001)

This British ‘mini’ (from the Evelyn Waugh novel) is an ironic WWII epic stuck with a misleading non-ironic title. Daniel Craig battles bravely with a positively disfiguring hair style as a not quite wised-up divorcee who pulls strings to get on a gung-ho ‘special forces’ unit. The huge cast of characters is tough to get a handle on, those strong regional accents don’t help, but you’ll catch on soon enough and it’s worth the effort. The first half is particularly successful in detailing the absurdity of war story line (it’s not dissimilar to a lot of those SNAFU WWII pics from the ‘60s), but as the tone shifts toward darker themes and deadly consequences in Part Two, neither the script (William Boyd) nor the direction (Bill Anderson) manages the fast turns from comedy to horror. And the homefront backstory (basically the travails of Craig’s hedonistic ‘ex’) can’t finesse Waugh at his most misogynist. But two-thirds of this is very good indeed.

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