Men of Metal (2004)

Director: Adam Canci

Tagline: The other side of war

This short follows a young conscript and tells of his experiences before, during and after the war as he comes to terms with what he has done during the conflict.

While the same topic has been covered in many feature-length movies, I haven’t seen any shorts dealing with it. For me it was the film version of Redgum’s famous song ‘God help me, I was only nineteen’ or Eric Bogle’s ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ that deal with similar themes.

I liked the opening music, as it was introduced very well (a busker was playing it in the first scene.) Also the music over the end credits was well chosen I thought.

It is always interesting to see the credits for films like this. There are usually people involved in the production you wouldn’t normally hear from. For example this movie had an armourer who provided the guns and taught the people making the film how to use them.

The army costumes and settings seemed to be accurate for the story. I know it was probably shot in rural Victoria. At least they made an effort at making it look foreign.

I liked the portrayal of the two sergeants who made fun of the private (the main character), when he first arrived. The enemy sniper was suitably menacing also.

As this theme has been explored before, I thought it did a good job of showing the psychological effects of the war on the main character. What also stood out was that he wasn’t perfect even before the war. Many films neglect this aspect of the story and this film is better for including it.

The Australian perspective on this subject was also a welcome change. If you would like to read an even more local perspective, I recommend the ‘Tomorrow’ series of books by John Marsden.

Rating: 8/10

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