HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  War Requiem Rest In Peace
Year: 1989
Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Nathaniel Parker, Tilda Swinton, Laurence Olivier, Patricia Hayes, Rohan McCullough, Nigel Terry, Owen Teale, Sean Bean, Claire Davenport, Antony Gabriel, Alex Jennings, Spencer Leigh, Linda Spurrier
Genre: War, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wilfred Owen was killed in the last week of the First World War; he was one of the most evocative poets of that conflict and here we see passages from his life dramatised to the accompaniment of the War Requiem, written by Benjamin Britten. We see the lifeless body of Owen (Nathaniel Parker) as his nurse (Tilda Swinton) stands over it, paralysed with anguish and only able to let out a cry in the face of a death that by all rights should not have occured to a man of twenty-seven years. But death is what war is inextricably linked to...

When director Derek Jarman offered his interpretation of Britten's celebrated work, he might have seemed a self-consciously arty choice, but the imagery he created was undeniably impressive despite it not being everyone's idea of the most appropriate. Nevertheless, he came across as a sensitive interpreter of the music, even if that sense of a fringe theatre production peculiar to him was by no means absent here. Some might have thought he would have been straightjacketed by being tied to the requiem, but this was not necessarily the case.

The most overhwhelming feeling of this film is of sorrow, of needless waste of human life cut down in its prime, a cliché perhaps, but not one entirely without relevance. Jarman undeniably conjures up strong and sincere visuals, with Owen, whose poetry is heard at the start, represented by Parker as he is recruited, goes to war, and is killed. Laurence Olivier, in his last film, appears as an old soldier now living in a nursing home, and the nurse is played by Swinton, as if she were an eternal source of comfort in the face of death from wars past to the present day.

Even the scenes that have a lighter aspect are brought soberly down to earth by the seriousness of the tone, so a sequence where showgirls entertain the wounded troops in hospital, leading to a game of blind man's buff, gives way to more misery not only by its context but by what happens afterward. There are flashbacks to Owen's childhood, shot in Super 8 in the familiar Jarman fashion, but it is not just his story that concerns the film, as there is a universality to the characters, including as it does the Unknown Soldier (Owen Teale) and a German soldier (Sean Bean) who both meet tragic ends.

In the main this is mournful stuff, helped in no small way by the power of the score, but after a while Jarman stops feeling sorry for the fallen and begins to display anger in a jarring montage of dead and injured soldiers from conflicts past and present, illustrating that war is always with us no matter how peaceful it might seem in other, more less dangerous parts of the world. Lastly, the tone once again alters into a more transcending area, with Swinton, who rarely looked more soulful as she does here, witnessing a more religious conclusion to what we have seen. It's true that these final scenes are very much a matter of taste, but you could easily apply that view to the rest of War Requiem, though if anything Jarman finds himself sentimentalising his subject.

[Second Sight's Region 2 Special Edition DVD has a commentary from the producer and featurettes as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3084 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: