Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Directed by: #MaxMason
Written by: Max Mason
100 years since the end of the First World War and #warmovies and filmmakers are still telling the seemingly endless amount of stories from those tragic trenches. The techniques of combat and warfare have evolved to be less personal since then, so the intimate violence that was necessary during the conflict is a highly emotive way to engage with the enduring themes of war. Filmmaker Max Mason's #shortfilm Their War is a breathtakingly heartbreaking and intimate piece on the human sacrifice needed and how this can never be justified.
Hamish Riddle plays a British soldier who is preparing to fight for his country. He leaves behind a pregnant wife (Katharine Orchard) and makes his way towards a battlefield without any lucid reasoning to propel him into the violence and chaos that he will meet. Des Carney plays a German soldier, whose sharpshooting capabilities do little to quell the unrest within his soul. He confides to his comrades that the men on the other side of the field are just like them. Their War becomes a poignant and stark reminder, at this point, of the universality of humanity and our precious need to protect life at all costs.
The performances are sublime across the board. Riddle is engaging throughout, in particular during a scene with his war-wearied Captain (Benjamin Hartley - who is also wonderful) where the two discuss the idea of heroism. Carney steals the show, however, as the dark and brooding soldier struggling with the mutiny which lies within him. A tender and beautiful moment of cross editing involving Orchard is also splendid as is the knockout final sequences. This coexistence of both sides of the story is something remarkable about the movie.
Having seen so many war films, most audiences are likely to draw parallels. With Mason's short they will be fortunate enough to draw them with the utter greats. The halved structure, reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket, works brilliantly to combine and contrast the peace and tranquility of home with the ghastly trench life. This is complemented by a wonderfully rich mise en scéne in the battlefields that strongly reminded this critic of the excellent War Horse. Other movies are likely to come to mind and the resulting conclusion we can draw is that Max Mason has delivered something completely arresting, honourable, and masterfully crafted.
Watch the official movie trailer below...
Or watch on the UK Film Channel - one of their Free Movies: