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Occupied short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: Alex Bates

Written by: Alex Bates

Starring: Sapphire Brewer-Marchant, Dan Le Friec, Harriet Billington, Harry Giubileo

 
Poster for Occupied showing animation.
Poster for Occupied

During World War II, the Germans invaded and occupied the Channel Islands, which included Guernsey. This historical drama examines how this event influences the lives of the island's inhabitants, particularly that of a young woman.


The story begins in June 1940, just before the arrival of the German's. Will (Friec) and Carolyn (Marchant) are a married couple, living on the island of Guernsey. They are aware that the enemy might reach them and although Carolyn expresses a desire to leave, they do not abandon their home. Eventually, the invasion takes place and Will is killed. Three years later, Carolyn has become pessimistic and angry, isolates herself and feels hatred towards the Germans. Later, a tormented German military aviator reaches the island, subsequently meets Carolyn. He is emotionally damaged by the war and helps her change her perspective regarding the way things have turned out.


This short, WWII drama reveals how war ends and destroys lives. With the character of the pilot, who is against war, it also indicates that the German people have also suffered by the savagery of battle.


The main focus of the narrative is Carolyn, played brilliantly by Marchant. The film begins with her happy life with Will and observes as she becomes a different person, due to her tragic loss. Most of the story is shown through her perspective. She goes through significant character development and Marchant brings her emotions to life very convincingly.


The film contains elements that are often seen in war films: soldiers, loss of life, a devastating bombing, the ways warfare affects a person's life, including the psychological effects it has on them. The screenplay also includes touching scenes of confrontation.


The mise-en-scene is quite admirable. The clothing looks like it belongs in the forties and so do the various hairstyles. The military uniforms look great and the furniture, antiques, weaponry and vehicles give the impression that they belong in that era. There is also a brief, but impressive appearance of military combat aircraft.


Matthew Stockreiter does an amazing job with the cinematography and Bates creates wonderful establishing shots of the ocean, beaches, countryside and mountains.


Joseph Collier makes an outstanding contribution with the score, which is dramatic and powerful, developing a moving atmosphere.


Occupied is an emotional story about how war affects people. With realistic acting and a strong script, this is a remarkable achievement that had a great deal of work and dedication put into it.

 

Trailer for Occupied:

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