I have watched two war movies in the last two days, one I was looking forward to and the other I thought might pass an hour or so but if not I could always watch iPlayer, in the event although I enjoyed both the second was by far the best for me, and all the more so for coming as a complete surprise.
Many moons ago when I was doing my part to keep the West Indies safe from the Soviets as Windies Guardship, we used to have a fleet or a squadron at the very least do that, I wandered into a bookshop in Hamilton, Bermuda and bought a book on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, not for me Louis Lamour, JT Edson or Sven Hassel. It was a strange book written in a strange style and it took me a bit to get into it, but I do remember being fascinated by the story and forty five years later I still have it.
So when I heard about the new movie of the event I really couldn't wait, I managed to see it on Wednesday night, was it worth it, yes and no. The film keeps pretty much to the facts and the filming while not brilliant was fine although wartime Prague seemed to consist of one street. What was missing for me was the sense of doomed fate for the parachutists and their helpers, the film seemed to take it for granted that we all knew the horrific events which followed the ambush and therefore brought them on in a matter of fact style and very rushed as if it was time to get to the end. I have to be honest and say the characters seemed one dimensional to me and I never really connected to them the way I did when reading the book, and there were some very brave people involved and dragged into this story. The assassination itself was promoted for political purposes and nothing else, in the end all it achieved was misery and murder for a lot of innocent people.
The next film turned out to be a little gem and a story which deserves a wider audiance, it is like a modern Rorke's Drift and again points out the perfidious character of politicians, I did some digging on these paragons of decency, one a Noble prize winner and like Lady Di and Nelson Mandela virtually untouchable but flawed nonetheless.
It concerns an Irish UN unit of peacekeepers completely ignored at an outpost in the Congo and left to deal with an attacking force which outnumbered them 20 to 1, without any back-up whatsover as it suited the politicians and the events at the time. Incredibly after six days fighting the Irish did not lose one man while inflicting some 300 or more casualties on their attackers.
Because they were eventually forced to surrender the whole episode and the reputations of the men involved were swept under the carpet and it is only recently that they have been given due praise and thanks for their actions. I recommend this movie and I for one will be getting the book which started it all off.