From Writer/Director Ben Mole comes Behind The Line: Escape To Dunkirk the latest film from Picture Perfect, the company behind ‘We Go In At Dawn’
Set in the early years of World War 2 in Occupied France. A Nazi Commander discovers one of his prisoners, Danny (played by Sam Gittins) is a champion boxer and forces him to fight for his company’s entertainment and honour. But when the Prisoners of War realise they can use these boxing contests, as cover for a breakout their fate and freedom may all come down to how long Danny can keep fighting for not only his life in the ring.
With the name ‘Dunkirk’ in the title, many will think of the Christopher Nolan film and try to compare this to that. Please dont. Whilst we all enjoy a good spectacle $200 million dollar film with pyrotechnics and air battles to watch on our cinema screens, not every war film needs to be that, in fact often some of the best war films (and films in general) are the stories of humanity, the stories of bravery and the human will to survive and Behind The Line:Escape To Dunkirk is one of those human tales and is far better for it. Whilst the film is visually beautiful, the beauty of the film for me, was the onscreen performances that unfold over the near 90 minute run time.
The film is more Band of Brothers, than Black Hawk Down (yes I know that Black Hawk Down wasn’t World War 2) Behind The Line: Escape To Dunkirk is about the people, not about the technology of war. Sam Gittins is perfect casting for the role of soldier/boxer Danny Finnegan, who gives both a human touch, but also has the physicality to inhabit the role of prize fighter Danny. he doesnt look like an unstoppable force, he looks like a real human being , and so we worry about him, we care about what happens to his character. Will he succeed in the face of likely defeat? Will his band of brothers survive and escape?
These are my favourite types of war films, films that arent really films about war, but are films about people, that just happen to be set in a time of war. Films like Escape to Victory, films like Dominic Burn’s Allies, and now, films like Ben Mole’s Behind The Line: Escape To Dunkirk. What is not to like. The film is wonderfully crafted and never outstays its welcome (not that I couldn’t easily have watched another half an hour or so to see more of these characters and they lives) The film does feel a little short at 90 minutes, but that it because so often nowadays, we are conditions to expect a near three hour movie, whereas the team behind this film, have told the story they needed and wanted to tell and havent felt the need to go beyond that. Its a nice refreshing change.
The boxing scenes are also well done, and add to the over all feel that you arent watching a film that was made in 2019 or 2020 but could be watching a film that was made in the classic era of war movies, An era of film that we dont see to often nowadays post-Saving Private Ryan where we dont need to see the pure carnage and bloodshed of war to understand what war means. One might even wonder what this film would look like in black and white. I think it would look pretty great actually and take you back to the films of the 40s and 50s. But lets not take away anything from this films wonderful cinematography which uses its locations brilliantly. I am glad I have watched Behind The Line: Escape To Dunkirk and my congratulations to all the cast and crew and of course to the team at Picture Perfect who have given the world another fine story to entertain us.
Behind The Line: Escape To Dunkirk is out now on DVD and Digital