A Battle to Leave, A Battle to Fight
After receiving a letter from the daughter of a WWII vet saying he had passed away Don Smith (Lee Selmyhr/Cole Carson) reminisces back to the 1940s and his life during the war. As he thinks about the friendships he made, the family he left at home and so on he also remembers being with the 94th Infantry Division in the ridge in the hills around Nennig, Germany when the Germans decided to attack the allied held town when no one expected it.
Getting straight to the point "Everyman's War" is not a great war movie, it is certainly not the best acted war movie, and it is not the most exciting. But it tries to be good, it tries to bring the conflict of WWII down to a human level and give us characters who we can relate to and whilst definitely not the first movie to do so it does it in an easy to digest manner which makes it easy for young audiences to follow. As such we have a young man heading off to war and feeling bad because his father will have to keep the farm running, then there is a young man up in court who is ordered to enlist rather than go to prison as well as a young man who is going to have to leave his loved one behind when he receives his call up orders. There are more and in a simplistic way these characters are interesting and easy to understand even if they are cliches.
What follows on from this introduction is a look at war from these young soldiers perspective and the battle these young men faced, not just when it came to fighting the enemy but in leaving loved ones in the first place. The trouble is that whilst the look at war from the individual's level is entertaining the production itself feels low budget and lacks the shine to make it really work. The uniforms look to clean like they have just come out of a museum, the sets look like they are tiny and poorly lighted so that modern anachronisms are hidden and the use of a modern-ish piece of music sticks out like a sore thumb.
But what for me really lets "Everyman's War" down is the acting as a collective as whilst some of the acting was okay and you could believe that such and such was a young man in the 1940s far too often the acting felt like people trying to behave and talk like they would back then and only feeling forced for being so.
What this all boils down to is that "Everyman's War" is a nice idea even though not a new own. But the end production doesn't do it justice with it failing to impress more times than it succeeds.