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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Passchendaele DVD Review

PASSCHENDAELE - An Alliance Films Release


On DVD: February 3rd, 2009

Rated Canada 14A for violence, gory scenes, and coarse language.

Running time: 117 minutes

Paul Gross (dir.)

Paul Gross as Michael Dunne

Caroline Dhavernas as Sarah Mann

Jayson Therrien as MP

Gil Bellows as Royster

Adam Harrington as Colonel Ormand

Joe Dinicol as David Mann

Michael Greyeyes as Highway

Jim Mezon as Major Dobson-Hughes

Meredith Bailey as Cassie Walker

Caroline Dhavernas and Paul Gross star in Passchendaele, an Alliance Films' release. Photo Credit: Chris Large

©MMVII Passchendaele Films Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:


Passchendaele Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Sergeant Michael Dunne has returned to Canada. After a shocking battle in France, he will be forever haunted by a decision he made. Back in Alberta he falls hopelessly in love with nurse Sarah Mann and eventually returns to Europe to fight in the Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as “Passchendaele”. The film shows an important part of Canadian history that could sadly get forgotten, which makes this an important movie for younger generations to see.

Compared to Closing The Ring, another recent love story centered around the war, I actually liked Closing The Ring a little better. Passchendaele feels a little loose, where as Closing The Ring had a tighter story line. The scenery of Passchendaele is beautiful and the battle scenes are very brutal, making this a war movie more along the lines of Saving Private Ryan. With a budget of 20 million dollars, which is small compared to that of most blockbusters, this is the most expensive Canadian film ever made.

The DVD includes a 43 minute making-of titled The Road to Passchendaele.


Passchendaele Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

In 1917, one of the most brutal battles of WWI took place in Passchendaele, Belgium. Director-Writer Paul Gross tells the story of Sergeant Michael Dunne, (Paul Gross), a soldier after being brutally wounded in France returns to Calgary to recover, and while in the hospital, meets Sarah Mann, (Caroline Dhavernas), who is a nurse who works there. Both physically, and mentally scarred from the battles, he doesn’t want to go back to war, but when Sarah’s younger brother David, (Joe Dinicol), signs up to go, he feels like he must go back to protect him.

While this movie certainly does not have as complicated a storyline as something like Closing The Ring, it is very well made, and serves it’s purpose well, which is to bring attention to the next generation about the Battle of Passchendaele. The war scenes are very well done, and to ensure the accuracy of the scenes, Paul Gross enlisted the advice of military expert Norman Leach. The movie Passchendaele was inspired be Paul Gross’ grandfather, Michael Joseph Dunne, who served, and was wounded in the 10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, at the Battle of Passchendaele. The movie is loosely based on his grandfather’s story.

Passchendaele was the Official Opening Night Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. The DVD of Passchendaele also includes a 43 minute, 50 second look at the making of Passchendaele called The Road to Passchendaele, trailers, and TV spots.


Passchendaele Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)



Paul Gross stars in PASSCHENDAELE, an Alliance Films' release. Photo Credit: Chris Large

©MMVII Passchendaele Films Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

About the Battle of Passchendaele

By Erin V.

The battle that this movie is based on, the Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as the battle of Passchendaele lasted over 4 months, and cost over half a million men their lives. In the battle, approximately 325,000 Allied soldiers died, as well as approximately 260,000 German soldiers, as they tried to defend against the assault. The battle became known as one of the most controversial of the war, because of the extreme loss of life, and the leadership of Sir Douglas Haig. When the Canadians were called in to help in the liberation of the town of Passchendaele, (now called Passendale), Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie declared it next to impossible, and predicted that they could lose as many of 16,000 of their men. And close to his prediction, 15,654 Canadians were injured of killed in the battle, including my great-great grandfather Martin Sweeney, who died on November 5th, 1917.

General Currie prepared for the battle by having his soldiers build walkways over the muddy terrain. On October 26th, approximately 20,000 men attacked, inching their war forward, behind heavy fire meant to destroy the German guns, and provide cover for the soldiers. With high casualties, they slowly, but surely pushed forward, and on October 30th, the final battle for the town of Passchendaele began. After days of fighting in rain, mud, and heavy fire by the Germans, the Battle of Passchendaele ended when the Allies, led by the Canadians, claimed the town at 9:00am on November 6th, 1917. Five months after the battle, the Germans won back the territory that they had lost. For Canada, then a young nation only 50 years old, the battle marked us a place in history, and we will not forget the many who served in this battle.


Consensus: Passchendaele is a good Canadian historical film that would be worth watching, especially around Remembrance Day. ***1/2 (Out of 4)