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Saints and Soldiers
Typically once a film is over, you are immediately left with an impression, or an understanding of the movie’s overall theme. If it is done well, you will even understand the tone of the movie. However, rarely do I see a film (or rarely does one exist) where you have to spend at least a couple of days thinking about it to truly understand past your initial end impression.

Such is the case with “Saints and Soldiers.”

We gave the DVD to my dad as one of his Father’s Day presents, and watched it as a family. Well… as a family for perhaps 15 minutes, afterwhich we sent out all those under the age of 10. The film does not waste one second becoming an intense experience, as the first scene is the infamous massacre at Malmedy. In general, the story consists of four soldiers, trying to get highly-sensitive information to the Allies from behind enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge. Every soldier comes from different walks of life, but their interactions and outward actions create a transparently strong bond between them all.

“Saints and Soldiers” tells stories of bravery and honor, as well as morality and self-sacrifice. The end that you hope for never comes, and that only adds to the deeply rooted meaning of the movie. The most focused character of the film, Deacon, played by Corbin Allred, is a member of the LDS Church, though it is only subtley announced when he says that he served a mission in Berlin. Deacon’s altruistic innocence saves his fellow soldiers and others caught up in the war, and provides a richness to the film not found in big-budget Hollywood flicks. To truly understand “Saints and Soldiers” however, it is critical that you closely listen to Deacon’s dialogue about life after death. Without it, you may never arrive at an understanding and satisfaction with “Saints and Soldiers.” Is that good enough to pique your curiosity but not spoil the film? 😉

“Saints and Soldiers” was produced for under $1 million, but you would never be able to tell when watching it. The entire movie also seems to have been rendered with a high-pass filter, (though I could be wrong, I’m not expert in the movie industry) which provides a great amount of realism to the time piece. As an indie-film, the producers were trying to figure out a way to get the most people to see it, and therefore implemented a “shotgun” style move by sending it to as many film festivals as they could, hoping to get into a few. And into a few they were received – plus just about every other one imaginable! The movie was the winner of numerous awards, such as:

  • Best Picture: San Diego Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Sacramento Festival of Cinema
  • Best Picture: Long Beach International Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Marco Island Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Ojai Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Heartland Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Stony Brook Festival
  • Independent Spirit Award Nominee: Best First Feature and Cinematography
  • Best Picture: Teluride Indiefest
  • Best Picture: Gloria Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Winslow Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Temecula Valley Film Festival
  • Best Picture: Big Bear International Film Festival

Wow, if that many people thought that the film was good enough to win “Best Picture” in just about everything, I’d say that I’d have to agree! Therefore, Go see it! I’ve seen it available at both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video here in Colorado, so I’m sure it’s available somewhere where you are! Now! Go watch it now! You won’t regret it.