Based on true events, "Merry Christmas" stars Guillaume
Canet ("Love Me If You Dare"), Diane Kruger ("Troy"),
Daniel Bruhl ("Good Bye Lenin!), Gary Lewis ("Billy
Elliot") and Dany Boon, and follows their destiny through
Christmas during the First World War when enemies were able
to lay aside their differences in honour of the holiday.
of 1914. The war draws millions of men in its wake and tears
from their loved ones. Amongst the many called to war are
Nikolaus Sprink, exceptional tenor at the Berlin Opera House,
Palmer, an Anglican priest and his church aide Jonathan, Lieutenant
Audebert and Anna Sorensen, the women Sprink left behind.
But she's not the only one. Lieutenant Audebert has left his
wife, pregnant and bedridden to fight the enemy. But the Germans
occupy the small town of Northern France where the young bride
has probably given birth. Christmas arrives, with its snow
and multitude of gifts. But the surprise doesn't lie in the
many gifts that are stored in the French, Scottish and German
trenches. It lies in the hearts of men. Rifles will be left
and a candle in hand, the worst enemies will cross over and
wish the other "Merry Christmas".
Noël is set in the very first World War in 1914, in the
dark and skanky trenches where the enemy's just 100 metres
away, in trenches of their own. In between, it's no man's
land, and often a stalemate as machine gun posts and snipers
at each end, are ever ready to cut down any troop advancement.
It's foolish to charge, and thus the battle-lines are drawn,
with each side waiting for the next move.
Joyeux Noël isn't an all out war movie. In fact, I would
boldly label it as an anti-war, with its themes and reasonings
put forth. The question "why are we fighting" is
never adequately, nor could be addressed by both sides. With
the French and Scots on one end, and the Germans on the other,
we see both sides as being where they were, out of circumstances,
manipulation, and based on the egos of politicians of the
the bigger picture paints a world and cultures at odds, it's
the man on the ground, fighting the war, who actually mattered,
not those who are waging the war in their own comfort zones
back home. As they say, it's a world without strangers, and
all men are brothers, a little understanding of one another
goes a long way, transcending perceived hatred, and politics.
Is there any reason to fight at all, even if it's misguidedly
for country? Each man is a brother, a husband, a father, a
son, to their own families, and what reason could be more
than to send them to die for their country?
are some thoughts that will inevitably race through your mind
as the movie progresses, until the much touted scenes where
all sides stumble upon an uneasy ceasefire truce on Christmas
Eve, 1914. 'Tis a season to be jolly, and with the men out
there in the fields, the festive season becomes a gel for
them to put down their arms, and to celebrate the religious
holiday together. As they bond, they find that they have more
in common as they demolish prejudices, misconceptions, and
truly did what mattered. And it is especially difficult to
go back killing one another senselessly, after sessions of
bonding which a religious festival like Christmas had offered.
story reportedly based on true events, but was bogged down
by a subplot involving Diane Kruger's (Troy) role as an opera
singer, and her romance with one of the soldiers. It's a rather
weak role, a token female one, and somehow added only fluff
to a movie which provokes some thoughts about the pointlessness
of war. Other subplots pertaining to the families of each
man, are more often glossed over with cursory mentions, but
adequately enough to spark thoughts and questions.
a scene which stood out with regards to lies told in the name
of religion to justify war. It's a small scene, but one which
resonates, because it is exactly such teachings, when misconstrued,
that seemingly makes killing in the name of religion sound
just. How very wrong if religion got mixed up in a totally
incorrect manner, to wage war in its name.
the trailer is included in this Code 3 DVD.
can choose if you want to enjoy Joyeux Noël in Dolby
Digital 2.0 or 5.1. Only during the war scenes would you be
able to enjoy the surround sound artillery bombardments. Other
than that, this movie's a "talky" for most parts,
which will not put any speakers to test.
DVD RATING :
by Stefan Shih