Thanks to Paramount Pictures Australia, we got to see Bad Robot’s latest film Overlord at its exclusive fan screening event almost a couple of month before its official Australian release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
Overlord, directed by Julius Avery, had lots of bad movie warning signs. Zombies, Nazis, and ahistorical US military diversity threatened to test our patience but, dear Satan, this movie kicks arse. Instead of tongue-in-cheek audience congratulation, Avery directs every aspect of his film with sincerity, care and intensity. This movie transcends any of its innate potential schlockiness with such skill it was impossible not to applaud at its finish.
We’re thrown right into the action with the 101st Airborne taking part in Operation Overlord as they fly ahead of the D-Day fleet to parachute in and destroy a radio-jamming tower in a church in France. This scene rivals Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers for conveying the sheer terror of war, and sets up the consequences of failure very effectively, assuring us there’s no cartoonish heroics in store for us here. Our protagonist Boyce (Jovan Adepo) is one of a few survivors of the FLAK barrage, and a small team led by Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt) proceed to destroy their assigned target at all costs. They meet French civilian Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) and SS officer Wafner (Pilou Asbæk) and discover there’s more to the church than mere radio jamming, and then their mission becomes personal. We’d tell you more, but any further plot revelations would spoil the fun.
Where other films covering this material would keep a degree of ironic distance, Overlord ramps up the menace, cruelty and violence to levels matching the most intense war and horror films, with lashings of (practical!) gore that harken back to the classics of those genres. The tension of the characters’ situation is kept vivid with strong, hard-boiled dialogue and a ticking clock in the form of the Normandy landing. When the action veers into the uncanny, the makeup and prop design becomes quite Cronenbergian in its body horror grotesquerie.
This is a blast. Get your tickets to it whenever you can, you’re going to love it!