“The Forgotten Battle,” a Dutch film directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., was released in October and has peaked at number one on the public Netflix ranking system.
The director of this film did a fantastic job on the historical accuracy of the Battle of Scheldt. As a history person, I found it nice to see how accurate he was and also gave the audience a new perspective on a war that we have learned about for years.
Tom Felton, who is known for his Draco Malfoy role in the “Harry Potter” series, plays Tony Turner, a British pilot in the war. Felton’s character is only in the film for a short time, which I found surprising, considering he’s the only actor that I recognized in the film.
The film is set during World War II, where the First Canadian Army set operations to take over Scheldt from the Germans. The Polish and British units joined in the efforts to infiltrate Northern Belgium and Southwestern Netherlands. This gives us an interesting glimpse into the role Canada played in the war that isn’t portrayed in WWII films. Most films portray the American side of the war, so it’s refreshing to see it done differently.
In the opening scene, we are given a glimpse of glider pilots preparing to fly into enemy territory. Although the movie started off a little slow, the first peek into the actions happens when glider planes are shot down by the German army.
I liked how the movie shared another story about the characters’ lives and experiences during this time. The fear of the soldiers during the action scenes is surreal and it felt like viewers were there with the men fighting. We get to see the enemy showing emotions once he regrets his decision to join the war. But we also get to see the contrast when he decides to help others.
The film has a Tarantino-esque feel to it with the violence and action scenes. I found it to be interesting for the Dutch director to go in this direction. The scenes in the medical facility allowed us to get a view into the enemy soldiers and the trauma they faced from their injuries. It almost makes you feel a hint of sympathy for the German side of the war.
As the film goes on, we learn about the lives of three specific people during the war. One German man who signed up for battle turned against the Nazi party to help a young Dutch girl try to save her brother who was a part of a Dutch spy ring. The second was a glider pilot anxious to join the battle. After his plane is shot down, he finds himself surrounded by the Germans. He discovers the war is much more than he thought.
One scene that shocked me was when a young girl, trying to get important maps to the Allies, is brought into the medical tent gripping onto a bag that holds the key to overpowering the German army. She holds on for her life until she can surrender this map after being shot by a German soldier.
The film is historically accurate and based on true events that happened during the war. Although the name is unique, the Battle of the Scheldt is not forgotten in history. It is just a piece of the war that the U.S. was not a part of and was instead led by the Canadian army. The final battle at Scheldt was typical for a beach scene which we have seen time and time again throughout all WWII movies.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend watching it. Even if you are not a big history fan, this film is entertaining and appeals to many different audiences.
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