Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Honor Flight

Moving documentary about a campaign to bring World War II veterans to Washington

Dec 6, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1368598-Honor_Flight_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The so-called “Greatest Generation” indubitably proves itself to be just that in Dan Hayes’ debut documentary, Honor Flight. Wisconsin native Joe Dean came up with the idea of flying World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Memorial dedicated to that war. Some 500 ex-soldiers expressed interest and it was a challenge to get it funded, as well as a race against time, as many of these veterans are dying off.

The film is undeniably heartwarming and an important reminder of the sacrifices these men made without question, an effective rebuke to all those pathetically attended Veteran’s Day celebrations you see or, more likely, just hear about every year. Dean himself is very present in the film, slickly effusing about these gallant geezers, but I wish there had been less of him and more actual talk from the vets themselves.

When they are allowed to speak, you may find your eyes welling up at the simple eloquence of their words, especially Julian Plaster, who describes being given a shovel and a pair of gloves in the Pacific and being told to do burial disposal. Seeing the bodies of American as well as Japanese soldiers immediately changed his ideas about what being a soldier meant and made him realize that “you are just one human being.” He lost 50% of his squad in one fiercely bombed battle, but a flag was put up “and in the morning the flag was still there, and so were we.”

He’s revealing, too, about post-war life, the struggle to get on with it and survive, during which time he gave his wife of 60 years nothing but handmade cards expressing his love for her. His simply stated yet heartbreaking description of her death, after seven years of hospitalization, make his a truly great love story.

Then there’s Joe Demler, dubbed the “human skeleton” because of the way he looked after being imprisoned by the Nazis. My own father scrubbed the blood off the wreckage one day after Pearl Harbor, and recalled the hard looks he was given, as a Korean, being mistaken for Japanese at the time. There are countless, priceless stories to be told, soon to be forever lost to mortality’s inevitability. In the film Golddiggers of 1933, Joan Blondell unforgettably sang the song “Remember My Forgotten Man,” about the plight of World War I veterans. Hopefully, this film will address the situation of those involved in the great war following it, just as we need to be cognizant of all the guys who recently served in the Middle East and are going through the effects of that experience as well.


Film Review: Honor Flight

Moving documentary about a campaign to bring World War II veterans to Washington

Dec 6, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1368598-Honor_Flight_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The so-called “Greatest Generation” indubitably proves itself to be just that in Dan Hayes’ debut documentary, Honor Flight. Wisconsin native Joe Dean came up with the idea of flying World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Memorial dedicated to that war. Some 500 ex-soldiers expressed interest and it was a challenge to get it funded, as well as a race against time, as many of these veterans are dying off.

The film is undeniably heartwarming and an important reminder of the sacrifices these men made without question, an effective rebuke to all those pathetically attended Veteran’s Day celebrations you see or, more likely, just hear about every year. Dean himself is very present in the film, slickly effusing about these gallant geezers, but I wish there had been less of him and more actual talk from the vets themselves.

When they are allowed to speak, you may find your eyes welling up at the simple eloquence of their words, especially Julian Plaster, who describes being given a shovel and a pair of gloves in the Pacific and being told to do burial disposal. Seeing the bodies of American as well as Japanese soldiers immediately changed his ideas about what being a soldier meant and made him realize that “you are just one human being.” He lost 50% of his squad in one fiercely bombed battle, but a flag was put up “and in the morning the flag was still there, and so were we.”

He’s revealing, too, about post-war life, the struggle to get on with it and survive, during which time he gave his wife of 60 years nothing but handmade cards expressing his love for her. His simply stated yet heartbreaking description of her death, after seven years of hospitalization, make his a truly great love story.

Then there’s Joe Demler, dubbed the “human skeleton” because of the way he looked after being imprisoned by the Nazis. My own father scrubbed the blood off the wreckage one day after Pearl Harbor, and recalled the hard looks he was given, as a Korean, being mistaken for Japanese at the time. There are countless, priceless stories to be told, soon to be forever lost to mortality’s inevitability. In the film Golddiggers of 1933, Joan Blondell unforgettably sang the song “Remember My Forgotten Man,” about the plight of World War I veterans. Hopefully, this film will address the situation of those involved in the great war following it, just as we need to be cognizant of all the guys who recently served in the Middle East and are going through the effects of that experience as well.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

E-Team
Film Review: E-Team

Four international human rights investigators descend on political atrocities to determine accountability. More »

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here