By Will Thompson

Ryan Little’s third instalment in his Saints and Soldiers film series is much like the two previous – full of heart and soul, but its lack of budget ultimately telling when it comes to the overall quality. This time round, Little adopts a small-time story approach that takes place during the twilight of WWII in the Void, a vast stretch of no man’s land battleground debris.

In case you’ve missed the previous two, Saints and Soldiers is a very patriotic film enterprise, recalling mainstream war pieces like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and the acclaimed character mini-series Band of Brothers. It’s an admirable effort from Little and the rest of the production team, with Saints and Soldiers going to great lengths to honour the real life counterparts of the soldiers depicted in the film. And, like the two previous films, Saints and Soldiers is a must-watch for anyone with an interest in authentic weaponry and obscure WWII history, with replica tanks and guns never far from frame.

In terms of format, it’s all very familiar. Lots of flashbacks, the same kind of structure – squad gets split up, plot lines converge while the odds are stacked against them, valiant soldiers overcome personal demons to a self-sacrificial finale – and it even ends on the same triumphant crane shot as the previous two.

The director’s commitment to historical storytelling is certainly commendable – this time telling the story of racial discrimination among the Allied ranks, but the film remains flawed in spite of its spirit. It’s been clear since the very beginning of the franchise that Little’s talents don’t lie in the form of his dialogue, and it’s arguably at its poorest here. A lot of scenes come across stagey and artificial, with actors standing around awkwardly for their cues. Too much dialogue is expository; too much tell and too little show. We’re forced to get to know characters through protracted monologues, forced camaraderie segments and shots of rueful glances at photographs. It’s obviously a low budget production, so it’s unfair to nitpick too harshly, but props and costumes do look flimsy under the pristine digital lights – far more so than it ever did in the original Saints and Soldiers.

The Void is well worth checking out if you’re a fan of war films and historical recreations. It’s not the most professional affair – but for what it is, a principled piece of indie filmmaking, you can’t go wrong.

DVD Review: Saints And Soldiers - The Void
A principled but artistically lacking affair
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (11 Votes)

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  • Huey

    Folk are being too harsh on this flick if you ask me (it’s IMDB score is plumetting by day). Surely you know what you’re signing yourself up for when you watch a Saints and Soldiers flick– mindless cliche characters but good action and USA USA patriotism. This is no Citizen Kane but I didn’t mind it, much in the same way I thought Ryan Little’s two other flicks were okay. 3/5 is fair.