They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

R   |    |  Documentary, History, War


They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) Poster

A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

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8.5/10
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12 November 2018 | steve-489-311092
10
| Mesmerising footage of the Great War.
I needed some time for this to sink in before commenting on it. This was equal parts funny, exciting, moving, harrowing, horrifying, upsetting.

Firstly, it's not a glossy documentary. There are some harrowing scenes in this that will, and should, upset you.

The first 25 minutes are of original black and white, speeded up footage with the original voices of troops telling their story over the top of it.

Then something amazing happens. The screen widens, the footage smoothes out, the colours shines through and in an instant your and seeing everything in so much more detail.

That said this was the first time I've seen footage from The Great War that didn't feel disconnected. It feels real. Seeing the colour on their cheeks and eyes, the dirt, the mud, the blood brings the old footage to life. Occasionally the colourisation takes on a slightly animated feel but never enough to draw you out of the engrossing scenes laid out before you.

Then the frame rate adjustment is amazing. Having computers generate the missing frames to adjust the variable 15-18fps to the regular 24fps is a visual butter knife that smoothes out the jerky footage.

Having the soldiers talk sounds like a mistake but it's done in such a subtle and sensitive way it never feels false. They've been lip synced perfectly and apparently even with the right accent for the infantry units depicted.

This was powerful viewing. Computers and technology being used for something so important, to allow 100+ year old footage to look so modern and yet not feel sanitised is amazing.

This should become compulsory viewing for every one, all schools too.

With footage thats this accessible there's no reason history should be forgotten.

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