Rustling through my computer the other day, I came across this very short review which was originally intended as part of a compilation review. Dispensing with the others, here are some brief thoughts on a Louis Malle classic.
Louis Malle’s Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) is a war film without a war. Its central concept explores World War II through its interjections upon normality. Unfortunately all too often the film gets bogged down in boarding school cliché, dampening the effect of what should be a very powerful core narrative. The story begins by following Julien, a young outsider soon joined by Jean, a quiet new student. Strangely this new arrival is refused communion when he tries to take it and also rejects any pork products no matter how malnourished he is. Strange then that it takes the otherwise extremely intelligent Julien most of the movie to figure out that Jean is a Jew who is being hidden in the school by the monks.
Lacking in a knockout emotional punch and/or message; not being particularly enjoyable and not being a technical or stylistic masterpiece this film made little impact on me. What this film is is pretty average. It is a well made picture made by a man who has a reputation as a master director. But this film is just ok. And it does not do justice to its premise or its subject matter. A disappointment.
Verdict: Schooner of Carlton Draught
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