Days Of Glory

"Very Good"

Days Of Glory Review


Every coin has two sides: Rialto's recent reappraisal of Jean-Pierre Melville's peerless Army of Shadows gave us the spy story of the French Resistance that fought a hushed war on the streets and frostbitten open fields of northern France. While that war was silently being fought, a much louder war was being waged on the battlefields to liberate France from the Nazis which is depicted in vivid detail in Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory. There are also ulterior motives: where Army of Shadows used the Resistance as a way to study vengeance, loneliness and paranoia, Days of Glory uses the battlefield to confront the obvious racial bias the French Command had against its soldiers from Algeria, Morocco, and Senegal.

Rather than focusing on the battles and no-man-left-behind rhetoric, Days of Glory follows four soldiers as they make their landing in Merseilles and take a long, daunting trip towards the Alsatian front, where they have at it against a group of Nazi soldiers trying to overtake a small town. The leader, Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila in a haunting performance), has the weight of social injustice and racism hanging round his neck while his second-in-command Messaoud (the great Roschdy Zem) is harboring an uncertain love for a white girl he fell for during leave. They attempt to correct the racial strife that goes on (most notably in a scene concerning withheld produce) and try to protect young, misguided Saïd (Jamel Debbouze) from getting ripped to shreds when he becomes the commanding leader's lapdog.

Days of Glory instantly strikes the viewer as a personable film that carries genuine warmth towards its main characters. Though not innovative in any way, there's a rugged, worn-in feeling to it that recalls Sam Fuller's The Big Red One, though admittedly much smaller and conventional in scope. There's also a rather blatant resemblance to Saving Private Ryan, specifically in the final battle that shows each character's lone struggle for survival while constantly returning to the great battle being waged in the center (that and the solemn grave visitation that caps off the film). It's true that these contrivances hold back the film from being great, but to deem it inconsequential on those merits would be wrong. There's a sense of purpose and immediacy in Bouchareb's mis-en-scene that seems inarguably relevant.

In its treatment of racism in the army, Bouchareb's film plays it more as a state of being than inciting events, not overdoing it to create outrage. What might be the strongest blow dealt is the way that Bouchareb and writing partner Olivier Lorelle don't end the racism and rage that has built up. As one of the surviving soldiers meets up with his battalion, a higher-up tells him simply to fall into line, disregarding the courage and personal defeat the soldier has endured. It's a moment of solemnity that keeps the film's tone strikingly succinct until the bitter end. The film is one giant, vomiting toad away from being my Oscar pick.

Aka Indigènes.

Hold me.



Days Of Glory

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Wednesday 27th September 2006

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: RKO Radio Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 70 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Vladimir, Tamara Toumanova as Nina Ivanova, Hugo Haas as Fedor, as Sasha, Maria Palmer as Yelena, Lowell Gilmore as Semyon

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.