‘Breaker’ Morant (Beresford, 1980)

‘Breaker’ Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980)

Because I really dis-like trial movies, I wish I could say this is only a trial movie on the surface, and that its depth exceeds that of an underdog lawyer fighting all odds in representing his hopeless defendants. But, alas, what you basically have here is Beresford accidentally making a solid movie. Despite all the banal flaws I listed, I couldn’t help but become intrigued story told in flashbacks (though not near enough time was spent here). The battle between soldier and guerrilla – one group supposed to be playing by the rules vs. one group with no limitations, and how that wears on the group who is supposed to be playing fair – makes for an interesting psychological study. Then when the rules are tossed out the window, where did the breaking begin? Who is to blame? Something a little more grey, and a little less ‘these men are obviously scapegoats’ would have been preferred, though even as presented it manages to be fortuitously good. (Or maybe I’m just lost in the stunning cinematography used throughout the flashbacks as well as a brilliantly filmed conclusion? There is some absolutely perfect camera placement and editing in the latter especially.)  8/10

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