Category Archives: War Movies

Les femmes de l’ombre – Movie Review

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Movie: Les femmes de l’ombre

International English Title: Female Agents

Releasing Year: 2008

Country of Origin: France

Languages: French, German & English.

Genre: War, History, Drama

Les femmes de l’ombre/Female Agents Movie Review & Plot:

Les femmes de l’ombre or Female Agents in a 2008, French World War – II, theme based movie. The movie stars some of the most talented actors from Europe such as Déborah François, Julie Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Moritz Bleibtreu, Marie Gillain, Julien Boisselier, and Maya Sansa. Director Jean-Paul Salomé, has made this movie on the life of a real Female Agent whose extraordinary courage during German occupation of France is to be remembered forever. Now talking about the film, Les femmes de l’ombre starts with agent Louise Desfontaines, been assigned a mission alongside her brother. The mission is to go to Normandy and take an English Geologist back to England (who is there in hospital as Germans suspects him of being an English Secret Agent.

But, Louise Desfontaines is not alone in this mission. She has to recruit more Female Agents for the mission which she successfully do. Pierre Desfontaines (Louise’s Brother) is in-charge of this operation. Louise along with her team of Female Agents gets the work done and finally rescues the English Geologist from the hospital. The catch comes in the mission when it is disclosed that this is not the real mission for which the Female Agents are in France. The are now being asked to kill Col. Karl Heindrich ( A high-ranking German who i suspicious of England’s activities on its shores). The rest of the movie goes smooth and becomes interesting when Karl Heindrich  gets to arrest one of Louise’s brother and one of her associate named Gaëlle Lemenech. She tells the Germans about Louise’s plans out of fear for torture.

Louise tries to assassinate Karl at a railway station, but she fails to do so and gets arrested and later brutally tortured in front of her brother by Germans. Pierre Desfontaines decides to tell Karl Heindrich the truth to save her sister. And, in a twist it is revealed that English are helping the Americans to land on  “temporary platforms” in Normandy to fight the Nazis. Now, Heindrich is more worried than he expected and decides to go to Berlin. Louise is rescued by her associates while getting transferred from one place to another on the orders of Karl.

The climax comes when Louise finally shots Karl Heindrich, but she paid a heavy price for it. All her Female Agents are dead while executing this operation. The movie ends when Nazis surrenders to Allied Powers and Louise is seen again working as a nurse.

Les femmes de l’ombre/Female Agents Rating & Verdict:

I rated Les femmes de l’ombre 8 out of 10, because of the high-quality acting and wonderful as well as smooth direction by Jean-Paul Salomé. There are no jerks in the script and you feel engrossed to Female Agents from the start till its end. In terms of acting Les femmes de l’ombre is just too good to watch. All the characters are very well written and the actors have given their best. In my view, there’s a same theme about all World War – II, based films. That is they try to portray Nazi violence and brutality against the Europeans and boast the courage and determination of the Allied Powers in fight against the Axis powers. But, yet these all movies have a different story to tell. And, to me this is the beauty of World War based  movies. There’s always something new to be told to this World from someone…! So if, you have not seen this French master-class then go and see it now. For those who love History and War genre like me Les femmes de l’ombre is definitely a must watch film.

Stay-tuned for more reviews coming your way!!!

Mongol – Movie Review

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Movie: Mongol

International Title: Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan

Release: 2007

Country of Origin: Russia, Kazakhstan

Languages: Mongolian, Mandarin

Genre: Drama, War, History, Adventure, Biography

Mongol Movie Review & Storyline:

As I wrote in my previous review about Sergei Bodrov’s unmatched ability to portray the great Asian Steppe and its culture. I am happy again to review another of his “masterpiece” today, Mongol. It is a story of a boy named Temujin, who went on to become the legendary Genghis Khan. The founder of the greatest and largest empire the world has ever seen. Mongol has all the elements a good movie possesses. The direction is absolutely brilliant, screenplay is awesome and cinematography is of top class. One of the best thing about Mongol is its great music and background score composed by Tuomas Kantelinen and Altan Urag.

The film starts with Temujin, a captive of the Tangut Kingdom thinking about his childhood and the hardships he faced for survival. In the flashback we get to know that at the age of 9, he was orphaned and had to struggle hard to stay alive which he did with the help of his God “Tengri”. Temujin makes a friend, Jamukha (who would later turn out to be his biggest nemesis). The movie sheds a light on the social and cultural life of the Mongols of that time. Temujin’s rival tribe abducts his wife, Borte that hurts him. To get back his wife Temujin seeks Jamukha’s help and they go to war with the Merkits (tribe). After getting back his wife, Temujin leaves Jamukha saying that he is a master of his own and can’t serve him as his second in command. Here starts a conflict between the “blood brothers”.

The story then goes on and we see a small phase of happiness in Temujin’s life. But, the time comes when he has to choose between family and his destiny. And, unsurprisingly he chooses the later. The movie ends when Temujin unites many tribes of Mongolia and defeats a large army of Jamukha and his allies. After the win, Jamukha is captured by Temujin’s men. As per the historical records Jamukha was executed by Genghis Khan, but in the movie he is seen as spared by Temujin.

My Favorite Scene from the Movie…

Rating & Verdict of this film:

I rated this film 9/10, and without any doubt it deserves this rating. Mongol offers some intense acting by lead actors. The action sequences are well-directed and one of my favorite scene was the last battle scene. Tadanobu Asano as Temujin is a brilliant choice and he never let us down. His power packed acting keeps us glued to our seats. Honglei Sun as Jamukha is equally impressive as well as explosive. The rest of the cast too has performed good.

As far as this film’s historical accuracy is concerned I am not sure about it as the history of the Great Mongol Leader, Genghis Khan has been written after his death and there are many “inaccuracies” in each account. Anyways, for a movie lover Mongol is nonetheless an absolute delight to watch. I would recommend it to everyone who loves history based films. 

STAY TUNED FOR MORE REVIEWS ON “THE WORLD OF MOVIES”…!

Mongol Full Soundtrack Playlist.

Nomad The Warrior – Movie Review

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Movie: Nomad The Warrior

Original Title: Köshpendiler

Original Releasing Year: 2005 

English Release: 2007

Country of Origin: Kazakhstan

Language: English Dubbed

Original Language: Kazakh

Genre: Drama, War, History

Nomad The Warrior Movie Review & Storyline –

When it comes to portraying the history and culture of the great Steppes of Asia, Sergei Bodrov is a master of it. In Nomad The Warrior one can feel attached to the wonderful history, geography and culture of the Central Asian region. Nomad The Warrior is a highly romanticized, fictionalized and dramatized account of the early 18th century Kazakh ruler popularly called as Ablai Khan. He is best known to never submit to Russia and fighting epic battles with the Jungar/Dzungar Khanate.

Nomad The Warrior
The caravan carrying the child is attacked by the Jungars…

The movie starts with a young and wise Kazakh warrior named Oraz (Jason Scott Lee) roaming in search of the “prophesied” child. A descendent of the great Ghengis Khan who will unite the ethnic groups of Kazakhs under one flag and fight the Jungars. Finally, he finds the child in a caravan. As he approaches to see the child himself, the caravan is attacked by the Dzungar horsemen led by their invincible warrior Sharish. All are killed including the mother of the child. Oraz is able to get the child to safety. He meets the Sultan (ruler) of Turkestan city and tells him that he has saved his child. The ruler becomes happy to see the child safe and offers Oraz to ask for a gift. Oraz tells that he wants the child as his safety can only be ensured when he is in his custody. The father after getting angry at first finally agrees to this proposal by Oraz.

Nomad The Warrior
                            Mansur and Gauhar – Childhood Lovers…

Oraz then names the boy, Mansur (Kuno Becker) and teaches him to become a capable warrior. Mansur’s abilities are only matched by another pupil of Oraz called Erali (Jay Hernandez) who also happens to be Mansur’s best friend. Both the guys fell in love with the same girl, Gauhar (Ayanat Ksenbai), but none admits their love to her. Meanwhile, the Jungar leader Galdan is hell-bent to kill the prophesied child and asks his general, Sharish to attack Turkestan.

Nomad The Warrior
                          Erali and Mansur, Oraz’s best warrior…

Here arrives the time for Mansur to show his mettle which he does with flying colours. Mansur kills Sharish, an unbeaten warrior of Jungars. Now the Sultan gets to know that Mansur is his son and he announces him as heir. In a twist of tale, Gauhar has been kidnapped by the Jungars and Ereli after hearing this goes out to find her. Here, in the palace Mansur is left alone as Oraz too leaves advising him to “be aware” of betrayals.

Galdan, to avenge Sharish’s death gets Mansur kidnapped. When Mansur addresses Galdan, he tells him that as per nomadic customs this is not the way to deal with a warrior. Galdan tells him that he will respect the customs of the Kazakhs and offers him his freedom, if Mansur passes a difficult test. Mansur agrees to this proposal and passes the test, that none has passed till date. But, still he is not released as Sharish’s mother asks Galdan to make Mansur fight one on one battle with another warrior. Mansur agrees and his fight is fixed with another warrior who too is a Kazakh. A night before the fight Galdan’s daughter Hocha (Dilnaz Akhmadieva) comes to meet Mansur in secrecy and asks him to marry her and become prince of the Jungars. Mansur rejects her offer profoundly, Hocha lefts dejected.

Next day, Mansur defeats the opposing warrior. But, he is shocked to see the face of that warrior. He was none other than his beloved friend, Ereli. After this incident Mansur flees from the custody of the Jungars with Gauhar. They get married later on. Now the time for final battle arrives when Galdan with the help of his “Western” friends brings a large army with modern weapons to destruct the city of Turkestan. As was the prophecy, it happened exactly the same way. Mansur slowly got the support of various Kazakh tribes and wins the battle. He as a gesture of goodwill sends the grandson of Galdan alive to him with a message. The message read –

“From this day forth, all the Jungars and enemies of the Kazakhs must know that from the Tian-Shan Mountains to the Aral Sea lies a land that has been inhabited by the Kazakhs since ancient times. All who dare to encroach upon this land will be beaten and driven out as has been done to the Jungars. We will treat our friends with open arms, but will show no mercy to our enemies.”  Ablai Khan…

Nomad The Warrior
                      Mansur after “unknowingly” killing Erali…

Nomad The Warrior Rating & Verdict –

For good cinematography, nice direction and a great storyline I have rated Nomad The Warrior 8/10. It’s a bit more than what this movie actually deserves because Nomad The Warrior has one of the poorest english dubbing I have ever came across my life. The acting too is just above average. But, I just overlook these things because Nomad The Warrior is an entertaining stuff despite of it flaws. It is also that kind of movie which never lets you get bored while watching. So, if you are a lover of history genre then get the taste of some Kazakh one.

Until Ahmad Returns – Movie Review

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Movie: Until Ahmad Returns 

Original Title: (Ta Amadan Ahmad) تا امدن احمد

Year: 2015

Country of Origin: Iran

Languages: Persian (Mainly) Arabic (Few Dialogues Only)

Genre: Drama, War, History

Until Ahmad Returns Movie Review –

The movie is based on Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Karg Island (also. Khark) is a small island in the Persian Gulf, it was bombarded very heavily by the Iraqi Forces during the 8 year long military conflict between both the countries. Although the movie is based on war, but it tells us the “other side” of war. Director Sadegh Daghighi has really done a commendable job and one can easily say that the movie is well directed. One of the outstanding feature of “Until Ahmad Returns” is its acting and background score. The starting and ending music is really very good and touching. Overall, the cinematography and camera work too is great. The special effects could have been a bit better, but given the other satisfying aspects of “Ta Amadan Ahmad” one can easily forget this small flaw.

I watched this film recently in 8th Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) – 2016. The movie tells the story of a family who are living on this this island that is being bombarded frequently by the Iraqi Forces. The movie starts on a battlefield where two boys (Irani) are trying to help wounded soldiers. Suddenly, a shot is being fired and one boy gets down. Then the scene is shifted to a house where people are celebrating and singing on a marriage function. The marriage is of a girl named Maryam, she is very happy on her marriage except for the fact that her mother is not there in the house. The marriage is interrupted midway when the father tells the guest that he is going to his wife. As he reaches to his wife, who is missing her son “Ahmad” on her daughter’s marriage, he tries to convince her that Ahmad is his brave son and he will return for her sister’s marriage. The old couple starts moving towards their house. As they reach suddenly fighter jets starts bombing the island’s oil refineries. The marriage is called off and Maryam’s happiness is gone.

Later on, the father finds a wounded man (wearing Iranian Military Uniform) and thinking of helping him he takes the man to his home. This strange man don’t speak to anyone and just looks with empty eyes. Ahmad’s mother thinks him as her son’s friend and always keeps asking him when will Ahmad return? But, he never speaks a word. The film takes another turn when the Maryam’s groom abandons her because he thinks that she is having an affair with that wounded soldier. The biggest twist in the movie comes when some people caught the “wounded soldier” (who is now recovered) stealing a small boat and they returned him to Ahmad’s family, because he was their guest. The father is agitated and asks the man to speak and finally, the soldier breaks his silence and speaks… He tells them that he is an Iraqi soldier and to save himself from being captured, he took away Ahmad’s clothes after he was dead on the battlefield. Everything stops for Ahmad’s family and they decided to send him away from where he came from. As the soldier was going back on a boat in the sea, again the Iraqi planes bombarded the island. In the last scene, the soldier is shown helping the people after the bombardment. His heart might have changed and he could have stayed there….

What To See In Until Ahmad Returns –

This movie shows human emotions at the time of war, and it also tells us that no matter how bad we become there’s still humanity left in all of us.  The pain of Ahmad’s mother and father is very evident and Maryam’s trouble too is very well portrayed. The acting of all the cast is really of high quality as one associates with Irani films. In my view, if you are looking to see something serious and sad then this movie is for you. You will enjoy the human emotions and relations shown in this movie.

My Rating of Until Ahmad Returns –

I gave this film 9/10, mainly because of the direction and good quality acting. The story too is engaging enough.

 

Image Credit: Press TV. (Iran)