Writer/Dir: Nikolai Müllerschön (Operation Dead End, Deadly Measures)
Reason to see: How can you not want to know more about the legendary Red Baron?
Set in WWI, The Red Baron is a biopic following Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, the world renowned as the best fighter pilot. Seeing this story from his perspective is unique, especially considering the dominate depiction of Germans in war films, at least ones shown in North America, centre on WWII and atrocities. It’s refreshing to get a different part of history here, one rich with character and where the focus is centred on collective as well as individual prestige and honour. It starts from a rather distanced perspective of war as sport, I’d even go as far to say shown as a gentlemen’s sport. Rules, guidelines, boundaries set and understood not to be crossed. I really enjoyed seeing a war film that had little to no individual malice to it, one which looked at it from the perspective of honour and skill, but didn’t shy away from the eventual severity of the reality of war.
It is a biopic at heart and the journey lies with The Red Baron played by Matthias Schweighöfer, and the weight of the film lies on his shoulders. His performance is solid, with the growth of character unfolding gracefully over time, often feeling restrained or subtle. This amplifies the realism to it being an actual person but also made it a bit challenge to get drawn into his world. In effect, we see a rather gradual and natural progression of his character throughout the film. Coming from the perspective of someone who isn’t familiar with the story, I wondered if I would be more affected if I had awareness of importance of different encounters in the film. The supporting cast brought a lot to the film, especial the fantastic Til Schweiger, as Werner Voss who lit up the screen any time he was on.
Where the film truly shines is in the cinematography and visual effects. It is a beautiful film to watch. The action sequences with the planes are astounding in it of themselves, but each and every shot of the film is beautiful whether we are seeing grassy landscapes to hospital interiors. I wanted to drink in every visual moment as every moment was a moment worth seeing.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of historical dramas & spectacular cinematography
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010