Out this week in cinemas is Overlord from director Julius Avery. This film is about a bunch of paratroopers on the eve of D-Day and not all is as it seems.
Unfortunately, that is as much as I can say. The simple reason is that the plot of Overlord should be seen up close. I will say the plot is like a transformer, there is more than meets the eye. At first glance, it’s a brilliant and pulpy war film. It’s filled with those clichéd characters that are just so god damn charming.
There is Pvt. Boyce (John Adepo) the heart of the group, he hates violence and is the butt of many jokes from the other soldiers. The soldier dealing out most of the jokes is Tibbet (John Magaro) a rough and tumble kind of guy. He’s rude, he’s abrasive, he’s all the elements of the ruffian. No surprises there but Magaro brings a cheeky charm that’s quite endearing. Finally, there is Cpl. Ford (Wyatt Russell). He’s no-nonsense, gets the job done and has a somewhat mysterious past.
These are just some of the main players of the cast. It’s fun seeing the world flesh out around them as the story unfolds across the 110 minutes. It’s fun because you’re given just enough to care but because there are no huge named actors you’re never sure who may make it out alive, even in the first opening scene.
The action like the runtime is also brisk. Coming in at just the right time whenever the dialogue may be beginning to drag on somewhat. And when it does come in it’s intense. The opening scene with the introduction of the various soldiers is decent if by the numbers. However when they drop into the battlefield the way the scene is shot is breathtaking.
The sheer level of chaos perfectly represents the hell the characters are falling into and sets the stage for where the film is going to go.
The action also continues to ramp up adding further intensity to Overlord. Director Julius Avery knows how to shoot action. A particular favourite scene of mine included several members of the cast and a support beam. It felt like a scene out of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
This brings me to some of the best aspects of the film. The CGI and the practical effects are wonderful, in particular, the practical effects.
It would seem that everything is coming up Milhouse for Overlord, eh? Well, unfortunately, the film has several issues that bring about uncertainty.
For example, too much time is spent setting the stage. It’s forty minutes before the film begins to show it’s more eccentric face which easily elevates the story. Not only that there are several times when the film seems to forget about elements in the plot set up earlier in the story.
It’s a shame because if the film had not wasted its runtime there could have been further exploration and development of the more unique aspects that intrigued me.
Nevertheless, it’s filled with guts, gore, and gumption. I adored my time with this story and these characters. Overlord is a hell of a film.