Thursday, November 23, 2017

Das Boot

I don't think I have a favorite war film but if I did it just might be Das Boot, the semi fictional tale of U-96, a German submarine in World War II. It's grim and unhappy mostly with the young crew and officers portrayed as reluctant Nazi supporters more loyal to the navy than the regime they fight for. They still get on with their day job of harassing convoys however and are duly pummeled back by the Royal Navy in the process. It's a long oily, airless, greasy experience that leaves you  bewildered and feeling cheated at the waste of life and resources on both sides that is washed away in the runaway fable that is modern history. Leaders lead with little consideration for the pain and suffering of the common people, those caught in the conflict and giving their lives often for no obvious reason. Das Boot illustrates this, the pain and complexity of loss and the tedium of duty on both sides of the conflict.

Above is a shot from the final scene, in port once again but far from safe. After all the trials and tribulations of a terrible and dangerous U-Boat operation, U-96 is strafed and sunk by allied bombers just as she arrives back into her home submarine pens on the French coast. Most of the crew are killed as they step back on to dry land, having survived the cruel sea's worst conditions from the top to the bottom.

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