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Saints and Soldiers (2003)Saints and Soldiers (2003)

Is it my imagination or do most war films feature a character named "Sarge?" The characters always talk tough to one another, ask where their buddy is from, play cards, smoke precious cigarettes, and beat the odds. One hails from Brooklyn, another from the Louisiana bayou. One is a pacifist with moral qualms, another a hardened atheist. Despite the many awards this film won, I found it predictable and mediocre. Four American soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines, and when they are joined by a stranded British paratrooper they realize that they have vital information that they must smuggle back to the Americans. So they trudge through bitter snow and accomplish the task. No, that was never in doubt. Along the way they encounter a Belgian housewife in an abandoned farmhouse who feeds them. Nice. One of the soldiers, Deacon, a former missionary, speaks German so fluently and without an accent that he gets them past Nazi soldiers. Hmmm. The film does humanize the soldiers, though, including a sympathetic Nazi, so they are thus not only warriors but also saints.

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