Starring: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr
Director: Peter Weir
Running Time: 110 mins
Gallipoli is an Australian film about two young runners from rural Western Australia who travel to join up to fight in the First World War, only to be sucked into one of the deadliest battles of the war, the Gallipoli Campaign.
This is a decent war film that focusses well on its main characters as well as telling a bit about the history. It may be slow-starting and occasionally a little cheesy, but it’s an engrossing tale that tugs at the heartstrings and shows what many anti-war films like this are meant to do, the real brutalities of war.
That’s one of the better parts of this film, how it deals with its anti-war message. It doesn’t go over the top and really shove it down your throat like some of these films do (my only criticism of Full Metal Jacket), allowing you to be entertained by a more human story than a political one, which simply makes for a bit of an easier viewing experience.
On the other hand, you could say that the lightness of its anti-war message is also a part of its downfall, due to the fact that there is nothing really shocking or massively dramatic to grab you like many anti-war films do, leaving this as, on occasion, a bit of a flat film, but I think that the lightness of the message is mainly for the best, because it allows you more time to learn to love our two main characters.
The human story that this film tells really is very interesting and emotional. It does a very good job of establishing the two main characters very quickly as likeable young men, and despite their differences and quarrels from time to time, the relationship that they forge as they embark on the journey to join up to the war and then be a part of the Gallipoli Campaign is engrossing, and works very well come the final stages as an emotional trigger for you, making the end all the more powerful.
Whilst the historical fact isn’t really the most prevalent part of this film, it’s still an interesting thing to follow along to, not just the tactics of the war itself, but the detailing of how rural Western Australia was so isolated even at the beginning of the 20th Century in the earlier stages of the film, which I found absolutely fascinating.
Overall, this gets a 7.2, because despite being a little bit of a light film with a few pacing issues, it’s an engrossing tale of two young men that will really grab you emotionally.