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Waiting for a Train

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Mar 30, 2024

Film Reviews
Waiting for a Train
Directed by:
Jack Sambrook
Written by:
Jack Sambrook
Jonny McPherson, Stiofan O'Doherty, Mark Locke

During the Second World War, a Jewish prisoner and a German guard build a rapport between them.


A poignant tale about an unlikely encounter that develops into something meaningful that is almost certain to end quickly.


This short period drama takes place at a train station in France, where Pierre (O'Doherty), a young Jewish man is being held captive, while World War II is taking place. As he sits alone inside a room, waiting to be placed on a train and begin a fateful journey, Heiko (McPherson), a German guard approaches him and proceeds to speak to the unfortunate Jew. Initially, Pierre is unwilling to communicate, however as Heiko gently persists, he earns Pierre's trust and the two of them learn a few things about each other's life.


The screenplay of this film catches a man (Pierre) at a time where he is about to meet his fate after going through devastating ordeals and during that brief period he experiences a glimpse of humanity by a person who is part of the people who tormented him. Their brief union is a moment of self-reflection and tenderness during very dark times.


The two main characters represent some effects that war has on people. Pierre is a broken man, a man who has lost everything and is now awaiting his fate. Separated from his family, bruised and dirty, with a sad look on his face and his voice almost a wisper. His character represents the loss and terrible emotional pain that is caused by war. Heiko is a family man and former teacher who was forced to join the German military when the war began. His character reveals that some Germans during WWII were good people who did not believe in the actions they were part of against their will.


The performances by McPherson and O'Doherty are fantastic and are vital in creating a moving atmosphere. O'Doherty is heart-breaking as a poor man whose life has been destroyed and McPherson is very convincing as a German guard, who is actually just a simple man who believes in good.


The action takes place almost entirely in and just outside the room where Pierre is and the mise-en-scene effectively develops a Second World War environment due to the guns and particularly the costumes. The realistic clothing is the work of Joseph Sawdon and Daisy Wesson and the result brings to life a Jewish prisoner and a German guard.


Permafrost by Scott Buckley was an excellent choice. A dramatic piece that is heard throughout the film, creating a melancholic atmopshere that goes perfectly with the scenes.


This is a painful story. A story about a man who has been torn apart by war and is now waiting for the end. However, in the meantime he witnesses good in the forces that took everything from him. The ultimate message appears to be that goodness can exist even in the darkest of places.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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