User Reviews (4)

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  • The other comment is pretty harsh on this movie. I rather enjoyed it. It was intense, and Gabriel Byrne's performance, as always, was outstanding.

    Some of the war movies always seem to be so much alike. This one was so different and the ending is very unexpected.

    I'd see it again - in fact, I own the movie, and I'm very glad I do.

    Gabriel Byrne is so down to earth and SO believable. He is truly a joy to watch. Again, I stress the fact that this is not like an ordinary war movie -- it's GREAT, man!
  • Slow and low budget character piece. A SOLDIER'S TALE seems interested in the corruption moral norms in wartime. The indoor scenes are dark and grainy, the outdoor scenes are just grainy. No one in the film is likeable enough to care about. Even the war content is of limited interest to WWII aficionados.

    A British sargeant named Saul (Gabriel Byrne) in recently liberated Normandy meets a French woman named Belle (Marianne Basler). Belle is in trouble, the French Resistance wants her for crimes against France. Saul wants her affections all she wants is his protection. But an American G.I. (Judge Reinhold) has similar plans for Belle. Through use of voice over and flashbacks we get Belle's backstory, which is again slow, ponderous and unimpressive.

    Saul thinks nothing of taking sexual advantage of a lone and powerless woman. Rape vs. execution isnt much of a choice and yet its hard to muster up much sympathy for Belle. A disappointment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I actually thought this was a very good film,i missed the beginning probably the first half hour,but i soon got the idea of what this film was about.I was always hoping that it would be shown again so that i could see this film the whole way through,but as far as i know it has never been shown on a UK main channel.I saw it on one of the cable channels a couple of years ago and it is definitely a film that sticks in the mind.Especially the ending,extremely controversial.In case anyone wonders what i am talking about,the story goes like this----{bare in mind i missed the beginning}A British Sgt who has helped liberate France comes across a young French woman she is living in a farm house.From a distance she is being watched by the French Resistance,as they believe her to be a traitor.All the way through the film you see flash backs of her and her association with the Nazis,and she is by no means innocent of what she is being acused of.The only reason the French Resistance has not moved in on her is because of the British Sgt whose name is Saul is staying with her.If he moves away they will close in and will kill her for sure,but while he stays with her shes safe.Towards the end of the film the situation becomes very intense and desperate as he has to go back but he doesn't want to leave her at the hands of the French Resistance.He can not take her with him as his fellow British officers say she is guilty of collaboration and will not help her,its down to the French law.So what actually happens is that he kills her himself,rather than leave her to suffer the trauma of what ever the Resistance may have in store for her.Very heavy going stuff,however the film is tragic as they were in love and probably would have made a life together somewhere,but their circumstances were hopeless.Its a very well acted film,and Gabriel Byrne gives a very convincing performance as a British Sgt.But be warned do not expect a happy ending.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I remember a friend in the Army telling me about his father being an American GI based in Northern Ireland before D-Day. One cold day, a beautiful, uncoated Northern Irish girl walked by his father out onto a long quay very purposely. He soon realized she was intending to throw herself off the end of it into the cold North Atlantic ... to her death ... unless someone stopped her. Maybe she had betrayed a British husband or fiancé off serving somewhere and was pregnant. Maybe she was in remorse because he had been killed. Maybe she had been raped.

    He didn't know, and he didn't care. He let her walk on out to her cold, lonely death. He figured - *rationalized* - that so many people were dying in the war ... that he very likely would soon be dead in it ... that someone who didn't want to live didn't deserve to. (*I* would have gone running after her to stop her. Maybe she would have even given herself to me in gratitude. Regardless, as a guy I would have had and felt an obligation to try to stop her.)

    I didn't express to my buddy my horror at and contempt for his father, but I could tell his father's story - coldness - had affected him ... too.

    A Soldier's Tale is so unique and hardhitting, I wonder if it too is based on a true story. Over here in Norway, Norwegian military personnel are drilled in the seriousness of the moral and legal responsibility for taking human life - which I don't remember from my own training as a volunteer draftee in the (U.S.) Army, Jan67-Jan69.

    In World War 2 most soldiers were not professionals but soon had life and death power over the enemy ... and others ... nonetheless and got the thrill of that kind of power. This seems apparent in the film.

    By the way, I don't think the film is any allegory of the Western Allies: Britain and the U.S. liberating and protecting Occupied France, judging by the outcome.

    Indeed, you are left with the disturbing question of whether Byrne's soldier was an angel or a monster ... and the increasingly disturbing realization he was the latter ... regardless of any "humane" intentions he may have thought he had.

    Gabriel Byrne was the perfect actor for this: thoughtful, deep, quiet, and shockingly unexpected. He is an historically great actor - fully equal to Olivier, Guinness, or any of the others but in his own original style.

    The one time I saw the film it made me very upset - even angry - and I think it was intended to do exactly this, to force us viewers to think morally and draw our own difficult judgments.