When I popped this movie into the DVD player last Saturday night, Filip (my Czech boyfriend) quipped that the film is somewhat of a Czech equivalent to the American film Titanic. Thankfully, the similarities that can be drawn are subtle and few. The similarities I detected are (1) two men fighting for the affections of a pretty white woman, (2) both films take place decades ago, and (3) both films involve one or more persons dying at sea. It may be a more apt comparison to say that this film is the Czech version of an American war hero film; which film fits best in this comparison to is beyond the scope of this review.
The film focuses on the lives of Czech fighter pilots during WWII. When Czechoslovakia is invaded by the Nazis, some Czech pilots make their way to England and are integrated into the Royal Air Force. Two pilots in particular form a close friendship that is tested when they fall in love with the same English woman.
Highlights of the film include stunning aerial combat scenes including one landmark sequence where two RAF Spitfires piloted by the main characters blow up a train full of Nazis. They shot this scene "for real" with a real train that they really blew up. This dedication to realism shines through.
An interesting fact gleaned from the nicely done "making of" segment among the DVD's special features is that the film was a collaborative effort between a father (writer) and son (director.)
I found Dark Blue World to be a well-executed film with rich character development, gorgeous cinematography, and convincing performances.
- Great acting, great directing, great cinematography.
- Actor Krystof Hádek is a hotty. Like smokin' hot.
- It's a "triumph of the human spirit" film that doesn't feel like an after-school special and it's a WWII film that shows history from an under-appreciated viewpoint.
- Nicely done subtitles and special features.
- Makes fun of how hard it is to master the subtleties of English. The difference between loan/borrow and well/good in particular are highlighted.
- There were segments of the film that I didn't easily follow. Did some of the characters end up in a concentration or labor camp? Were these "flash-forwards?" Were these the same characters as before?
- The journey from Czechoslovakia to England by fugitive pilots through war-torn Nazi-occupied Europe deserved some screen time. This plot point was not covered by any footage at all.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Nearly perfect.
Recommendation: Put it on top of your "to rent" list or your Netflix queue. WWII buffs and Czechs (or Slovaks) should consider owning it.
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