Das Boot. 20 Films.

It’s easy to carried away with music, art and films. Most people who know me will roll their eyes when I often say ‘it’s the best album I’ve ever heard’ etc. Enthusiasm is good even if it can be short-lived in the long-term.

I do, however, think I’ve just seen one of the most unique movies that I’ve ever sat through. Over the last 20 years or so, I have heard random people eulogise about 1981’s sprawling epic U-Boat movie Das Boot (The Boat). One of the people I heard rate the film was obsessed with boats so I always figured he was wrong or at least boat-biased.

Approaching the 4 Hour mark, the movie is perhaps more like a mini-series than a standard film. It does, however work as a huge sit down and get taken away experience like few movies would ever dare to try.

No spoilers. Just find the time to see this film. You’ll get German U-Boat soldiers in World War II drift into the most unlikely, heavy, soap opera ever. Opera is perhaps more apt. The character development is fantastic – I’m talking on par with The Wire here.

You can’t see the German soldiers as Nazi’s. Humanity prevails here in the most unlikely way. Instead you see German sailors transcended into session musicians for The National as they grow beards under the sea as the drama racks up and up. Delicacy of life is assessed as ‘weaker’ crewmen fold and crack up. Das Boot at times moves towards Wilfred Owen territory as a crewman, sure he is about to die cries ‘I just want someone to be with’ – the characters in the film bond like many films try, and fail.

Depths of despair. Shrieks of joy. Humanity above war. Horror. Realism. Don’t scratch your chin thinking about watching Das Boot for 20 years like I did…



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