030 - Army Of Shadows (1969)


Being on 'that' side of the pond, the French had a lot more to deal with than us English. We were let off lightly, only having planes going over bombing our cities and factories. The French meanwhile, had to live with German occupation as part of their day-to-day life. As a result, they set up the French Resistance - an underground loose-knit organisation designed to help the war effort against the Germans by releasing one man at a time. Army Of Shadows tells their story.

The story follows the fictional Phillipe Gerbier, a mid-ranked resistance officer. He begins the film having been sent to a camp and there the narration explains that he has connections and needs to be handled with care. The narration plays a heavy part in the film, preferring to be told more like a traditional play, than an action war movie. This helps to add to the slow, solemn feel of the film.

Theatrical Poster
Gerbier is released, and his first mission is to kill a German informant. Having botched the job, he meets up with his comrades. The film follows this same formula throughout - following the people in the resistance saving their colleagues whilst eliminating those who divulge information to the Gestapo.

Whilst this is original - to me - having told the war from the French point of view, it does have a very French dark attitude to it, making it very slow but to the point. The narration works well - because the actors rarely talk it adds to the secretive plot - but it does feel very dragged out in places.

Despite how it feels dragged out, it is probably worth watching once.