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The Forgotten Battle 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
The Forgotten Battle is a World War II film directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. And written by Paula van der Oest. The film follows a British glider pilot, a Dutch boy fighting on the German side and a Dutch female resistance member who all end up involved in the Battle of the Scheldt that was fought in 1944. Their choices differ, but their goal is the same: freedom. We get to see the battle through these three perspectives, this storytelling is similar to what Christopher Nolan did with Dunkirk. But the similarities kind of ends there, the screenplay is flawed but it’s mostly quite great. Where the film succeeds is the cinematography and direction, it’s visually a very pleasing movie. It shows how it’s become one of the most expensive Dutch films. I thought the film would focus mainly on the battle but I was wrong, it’s about the people that the battle and war is affecting, a more human story which I’m totally behind. So it’s more character driven than action heavy, but it’s of course a war movie and that’s shown brilliantly with imagery you’ll continue to remember. But with it being focused on three perspectives, the pacing gets worse and it makes the film feel dragged out, story especially as events take too long of a time to build up. Maybe a shorter run time would have helped the film or a different screenplay that focused on mainly two perspectives, the Allies and Axis. But I’ll admit that the story arc regarding Teuntje Visser is worthy to be told as it goes hand in hand with Marinus van Staveren’s own character arc which is probably the film’s best.
The acting in this film was terrific and full of emotion and authenticity. The cast has Gijs Blom as Marinus van Staveren, Jamie Flatters as William Sinclair, Susan Radder as Teuntje Visser and Tom Felton as Tony Turner. Felton being the only actor I recognized who was great in this, but the unknown cast is because how it’s a Dutch production which makes The Forgotten Battle even more authentic. I can only give praise to the cast’s performances, from the leads to supporting cast to guest stars. Everyone did a terrific job.
Though I did say the script was kind of flawed, there’s no lie that Paula van der Oest can write characters and dialogue well. It’s where the script is positive, the ability to humanize the German soldiers which often become black and white. With help of the director and actors, the characters are superbly done. The sound design and musical score is brilliant. An average Dutch feature film at the time contained about 500-600 separate audio tracks, while this film has well over 1700. It says something about the production, and some sounds were even arranged by Charles Maynes who did the sound for Clint Eastwood’s WW2 film, Letters from Iwo Jima. It’s truly award worthy work. Something else that was great is of course the makeup and costume department. The sets, production and art design. Honestly the whole production is impressive. What made me truly love the film was the final 30 minutes or so when all the build up comes together and the big battle is shown, it’s everything a battle on this grand scale should be. Chaotic, immersive, engaging and simply just real. It was filmed and edited similarly to the D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan which made us feel that we were in the character’s shoes in the battle and I felt the same way in this sequence, honestly the entire movie.
The Forgotten Battle isn’t meant to romanize war, it shows the horrors of war on all three sides. The Allies, Axis and civilians. It does it perfectly. If it would have shown more of the battle, locations and such, and had a better script and pacing, I would have found the film to be brilliant. With the beautiful cinematography and everything on the technical side being top notch, I can only say that it’s great. Solid 9/10 but not a masterpiece.