Monday, March 30, 2020

Review of "Gallipoli," DVD version

Review of

Gallipoli, DVD version

Five out of five stars

 When one group of nations takes up arms against another group of nations in a great war, there are two avenues of thought as to how to fight it. The first is to attack and defeat the most powerful of your enemies, for if you win that fight, the war is over. The second is that you select the weakest member of the opposing alliance and attack it until it surrenders. Since the more powerful nation in the opposing alliance will try to prevent this, aid will be sent that will likely not change the outcome.

 Winston Churchill was a strong proponent of the second option. In the Second World War he repeatedly advocated for an attack on the “soft underbelly” of the European Axis nations. This was the second round for his position, in the First World War he advocated the attack on Turkey that is known as the Gallipoli campaign. While that series of battles led to a lot of casualties and may have come close to knocking Turkey out of the war, it is judged as a failure and Churchill was demoted from his position as First Lord of the Admiralty.

 This movie is about a small group of men from western Australia that are caught up in the patriotic fervor of the war against the now hated Germans. Two men known for sprinting, Archy Hamilton and Frank Dunne enter a race and Hamilton wins. This is the start of a friendship and after a series of misplays, both manage to enlist in the Australian military and are sent to train in Egypt. Along with some other men they knew in Australia, they engage in some serious male bonding that prepares them for the upcoming battles.

 Once they land on the Gallipoli peninsula, they find the occasional shell and bullets from the enemy all a matter of routine. However, all changes when the Australian units are ordered to attack well prepared Turkish positions. Like so much of what took place in World War I, it was nothing but a slaughter when men charged over open ground against machine guns. The Australian units were decimated and all of the male bonds so carefully forged are literally killed. What makes it doubly heartbreaking is that this movie is based on actual events when the Australian 3rd Light Horse Brigade attacked the Turks when an artillery barrage ended seven minutes too soon.

 Up until the last ten minutes or so, this is a movie about male bonding and deep friendships. It is often amusing, with some very good scenes of camaraderie. However, the last part is about military rigidness that sends hundreds of brave young men to their deaths in a senseless attempt to achieve a hopeless objective. It is hard to watch such events transpire, more so because it is true.

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