By Megan Bianco
In 2020, over 75 years since World War II ended, what else can there be left to say about the global war in fiction and, specifically on screen?
We have the classics that were actually made during or not long after, like William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Michael Curtiz’ Casablanca (1942); modern period pieces like Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima (2006); and HBO’s quintessential mini-series Band of Brothers (2002), in addition to dozens of other fictionalized WWII dramas.
Stationed in Italy in the middle of the war, four young American soldiers spend a day pondering over the fact that one of their men killed an innocent local and then ponder over whether they’re making the right choice following an Italian man leading them off of a mountain and possibly into trouble.The soldiers are played by Alexander Ludwig, Sam Keeley, Chris Brochu and RJ Fetherstonhaugh; Franco Nero is the local who may or may not be on their side.
Recon is based on the 2010 novel “Peace” by Air Force veteran Richard Bausch and loosely based on a true story as one of the title cards informs. Port’s film adaptation, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival last year, has some pretty impressive production values for a movie that likely had a relatively small budget due to the lack of star headliners and big name producers.
The fact that the film was shot completely in Canada isn’t obvious since the entire plot takes place in a wintry forest. The cast is decent, though the dialogue and delivery often feel too modern for a three-quarter-century-old period piece. Brochu ends up being a scene-stealer who toggles the line, perhaps intentionally, of being either too sarcastic or too obnoxious.
Recon doesn’t really bring anything new or innovative to the many WWII features it is following, but for those who have a penchant for this type of movie, it will probably be entertaining and worth a look.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge