This earnest WWII escape story throws in a courtroom drama, but to nobody's advantage. Lt Hart (Farrell), a Senator's son, is assigned a quiet desk job until he's captured on escort duty by the Germans and marched to a PoW camp, where he's initially treated with suspicion by Willis' steely Col McNamara. The plot then takes an intriguing tack when the arrival of two black air force officers is met with undisguised resentment from some of their white fellow Americans. This prompts the question whether the US had the moral authority to fight fascism in Europe when their own nation was still scarred by segregation and prejudice, only for the film to start flannelling when it might have probed more deeply. There's no other explanation for the absurdity of staging an American court-martial under the supervision of a Nazi commandant, with Hart acting as counsel to the black lieutenant in the dock for murder. The direction gives us a colour palette of sombre greys, stately pacing, and Farrell and Willis in furrowed mood, but such seriousness proves a mere facade hiding a willingness to obliterate thorny issues with contrived rally-round-the-flag platitudes.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Billy Ray, Terry George|
Scott Michael Campbell