Gallipoli – ***

Posted: February 18, 2014 in 1981, Australia, Historical, War, XXX

This remarkable movie features a young Mel Gibson as a runner in the Australian army. This WWI drama is unique in that it’s only a war movie in the last twenty minutes or so and that the first 90 minutes are an introduction to the very last scene. It never bores and excels with its cinematography, great period setting and silly humour. Mel Gibson is excellent even though he has more of a supporting role. The main focus lies with a young runner who prefers to go to war than train to become the nation’s best sprinter. After winning a competition, he is considered too young to join. But with persistence and the help of an – ironically – anti-war athlete (Gibson), he does manage to join up and leave for North Africa, where he later meets his runner buddy again.

This movie came to my intention after visiting the war memorial in Canberra where you get bombarded by tales of the Anzac spirit. The battle at Gallipoli (a place in Turkey, which sided with the Germans) has left a strange heroic impression on Australians. Strange because the battle was a massacre and thousands died. It’s a weird symbol of bravery and pride. But the movie makes you understand all the fuss a bit more. THe story only focuses on he battle at the final end and builds up to it in a poetic and enjoyable way. It’s patriotic for sure and a tad racist at one point (upon arrival in Egypt), but it feels real.

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