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Director: Martin Huberty
Released for the first time with a new cut by director Martin Huberty, Deserter is the gritty true story of an idealistic young English gentleman Simon Murray (Paul Fox) driven to join the French Foreign Legion after a failed romance. Simon s romantic illusions are soon shattered when he encounters his fellow recruits, including Dupont (Tom Hardy). They have all volunteered to escape a past far less innocent than Simon s. A sadistic training routine forges the recruits together. As fully-fledged Legionnaires they set out to do battle against the insurgents facing deadly firefights among the villages, hills and deserts of North Africa. But when French President De Gaulle grants Algerian independence, the Legion sides with the Pied Noir French Nationalists against mother France. Loyalties are torn apart. Comrade is turned against comrade. Simon and Dupont must face each other across a moral divide, their conscience dictating their actions; blurring the distinction between hero and deserter.
The release of "Deserter" couldn't be better timed. With Tom Hardy's big role in the new Batman film set to open this week anything with his name and picture on the cover is sure to draw plenty of attention. Released originally in 2002 but it's only now on DVD and Blu-ray in the states with what they say is a new cut of the film.
The story starts off in 1960. Simon Murray joins the French Foreign Legion after being shot down by a lady. He is sent to Algeria where the Arabs are fighting for Independence. You follow him as he makes his way through training which can be very tense and brutal at times. After he completes his training and takes a trip into town and sees just how much the people hate the French he begins to have second thoughts on being there.
As far as the story goes it can get a bit confusing at times, I'm not sure if it has anything to do with this new cut or not but it just seems certain scenes in the film are left without rhyme or reason. The action in the film is very light, this is more a drama and a bit of a love story which I thought could of been left out of the story. Production wise the films looks pretty good considering it must of had a small budget at the time and the action scenes are done pretty good as well.
What you have to remember here is that this was perfect timing as far as releasing the film goes, it's certainly not Hardy's best performance and some might be a bit disappointed by his screen time as well. Since the film is based on a true story it makes a bit more interesting which might make it easier to over-look the flaws. I can't give this one my full recommendation but fan's of Hardy or the genre may want to at least rent it to have a look. With a better script and a little more direction this could of been a much better film but as it is I would has it's about average.
Released by Inception Media
** 1/2 Out Of *****