FILM RATING: 3.5 stars
The Red Baron (2008) just came out on Bluray recently and I wanted to see the film for the first time in this format since I could tell from the trailer that the movie was going to be very visually appealing. And it definitely lived up to that expectation! The film is absolutely gorgeous in its cinematography. The lighting is wonderful, the locations and sets are incredible, and the historic detail (whether accurate or not) takes you right back to the beginning of the 20th century. Even the special effects are top notch, giving you the sense of flying through the air in WWI planes. The casting was perfect in my opinion. German actor Matthias Schweighöfer lights up the screen and has an incredible magnetism to him in this role. His smile and his emotions pull you in. Apparently he also played a small role in Valkyrie (2008), Tom Cruise’s WWII epic about the attempted German assassination of Adolf Hitler. Another good movie by the way! Lena Headey from 300 (2006) plays the love interest for the Baron and her resistance to his charms is fun to watch. The costumes are really good in this flick as well, giving the “war” film an interesting feel that I wouldn’t have expected. I imagine the costumes are based in historical accuracy and that these fighter pilots didn’t have the strict Nazi Uniform of WWII yet.
While the movie is very good, I feel like something is missing from it. Probably from a story standpoint. I think the story didn’t quite pull together all of the emotion and powerful acting that I felt and saw throughout the film. The actors really made me feel their roles, but it was like it was for nothing…no cause. Somehow, the WWI cause was just not giving enough story or context for me to have all of this emotion bump up against. But I definitely want to watch this movie a second time before making my final rating on it. But this movie is definitely worth viewing and appreciating simply for its cinematic qualities. And considering it was not a Hollywood film, but a private German financed film, it’s exciting to see this quality of “independent” work outside of the film capital of the world.