When Trumpets Fade

4 ratings (4 Epinions reviews)
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Better you than me

Feb 11, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good Performances, Strong Moral Issues Interestingly Explored, Horrors of War Depicted without Excess Gore

Cons:Outrageous Plot Points

This cable movie isn't so much a war film as it is an allegorical tale.
Like most allegories it has to take some major factual leaps in order to make its point, so those leaps shouldn't be held against it.
The story here, about a private who just wants to get through the war alive (and at all costs) and then, through a series of mishaps and questionable occurrences, is promoted all the way up to a Lieutenant (I think) in just a couple'a days is, of course, far-fetched. But that's not what this movie's about.
It's about the ethical decisions faced and made by those in command. It's about the moral dilemma of asking how far will I go, and what will I do to survive. The movie looks at those questions and answers with its own question: What's the difference between heroes and cowards? What are we left with at the end of the day, when everything is said and done?

Ron Eldard gives an award winning performance as our hero(?), who in the course of the movie literally goes full circle. In the outlandish world of war where Officers make arbitrary decisions that affect peoples lives, and ordinary men are called upon to perform superhuman deeds (like running directly at the enemy with a flame thrower knowing you're more than likely to be killed before you ever get there) Eldards performance has a chilling reality to it.

The film makes better points about the horrors of war than did either of the two bloated big screen epics ("SAVING PVT RYAN" & "A THIN RED LINE")
(OK sure that first half hour of PVT RYAN was great, but did anybody buy that scene near the end with the coward crying on the steps and the German by-passing him on the way out? Or that Private Ryan doesn't leave when he gets the chance?
I know what Ron Eldards character would'a done; he'd a'high tailed it outta there so fast that he would'a been just a blur. S'matter of fact this movie could be called the Anti-Saving Pvt Ryan movie, because it blows apart those ideas of noble heroism and stoic clear thinking leaders, just as easily as stepping on a mine would blow off your leg.



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