Purveyor of wonderful (primarily) British video fare to North America BFS Entertainment continues commemorating the centennial anniversary of the start of The Great War (a.k.a. World War I) with a recent DVD release of the terrific Australian made-for-TV drama "An Accidental Soldier." This film is based on the novel "Silent Parts."
The following clip,courtesy of YouTube, of an Australian TV ad for "Soldier" provides a nice taste of what this British actress Rachel Ward directed film offers.
The titular soldier in this one is roughly 30 year-old kind and gentle Australian baker Harry Lambert, who give into years of strong pressure from his rural community to enlist in the Army and do his part in France in 1918. The initial honoring of an agreement that Lambert will spend his enlistment baking bread well behind the front lines gets his military service off to a decent start.
Things heat up (of course, pun intended) for Harry when the powers-that-be transfer him to a combat unit; this ultimately leads to Harry running off and having to evade pursuing gendarmes.
Harry soon develops deep feelings for seemingly kindhearted older French woman Colombe who provides him food, shelter, and other comforts. The drama related to this portion of the story revolves around the consequences to both Harry and Colombe if his presence in her home is discovered and around the nature of their personal relationship. The stereotypical mystery surrounding Colombe's husband adds further intrigue that pays off nicely near the end of the film.
Dan Spielman and Marie Bunel respectively do good jobs with their roles of Harry and Colombe. Neither overplay their role, and the mutual affection and concern of these characters seems genuine.
The numerous well-presented related themes in "Soldier" include the (sometimes conflicting) policies of the French, British, and Australian governments regarding deserters and those who harbor them. There are also compelling depictions of the Gladys Kravitz type neighbors and co-workers who seem to relish ratting on neighbors as much as some modern folks who express undue zeal regarding the current principle of "see something, say something."
The end result of all this is that "Soldier" has a nice mix of well-presented understated drama and romance that makes it one of the best Aussie video exports since "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo."
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Soldier" is welcome to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.