Published on April 14th, 2008 | by Chris0
Company K (2004)
Company K is the story of a group of Marines during World War I, based on the novel of the same name by William March.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, what might make for a good book (which I've not read) doesn't necessarily translate well to the screen. In the film, the fictional Delaney (Ari Fliakos) is the main character. Well, I think. He's supposed to represent March, aka. Campbell in this semi-autobiographical work.
The movie starts off wonderfully, with Delaney writing his novel, discussing parts of it with his wife, and the narration with (presumably) quotes from March's novel making a bold statement.
But, instead of following Delaney, what happens is we get brief glimpses into the experiences of each member of the squad. From the Privates to the officers, the film continues to explore each member in turn.
The problem? Just as each small vignette starts to get interesting, its over. And we move onto the next one. Each one of these "episodes" could have been so much more, and I'm betting that in the book, they're explored in more detail. But trying to cover each one in the film just leads to a confusing mess.
Then finally we return to Delaney. Then the film starts to gel again, but unfortunately its too little too late. The entire ending sequence with him killing the German scout, and then being haunted by him was really quite good. I just wish that they'd have spent more time exploring that, instead of delving into all the little side tales.
On one hand, I understand (and you will after seeing the entire picture) *why* it was done that way. It's (I think) supposed to represent the fact that these replacements come in, and just as you get to know them, they're gone. Just like that. You get a little taste of them and then they disappear. The bad part is that you won't *get* that until the picture is almost over. When Delaney goes back to his old empty training camp after the war and sees the names of all the guys who passed through, but can barely remember any of them.
The battle scenes in the film are spectacularly done, I will give them that. They went to great lengths to reproduce the nasty filthy conditions these guys had to endure. The pointlessness of trench warfare, falling somewhere between the "old style" battlefield, where you lined up and marched to certain death, and modern warfare....
...but its just not enough to save the picture in my opinion. After the spectacular opening, I was really psyched for the rest, but the constant gear-changing just got tiring, and while it may be the point, was just tiring.
Company K might interest the World War I "buffs" out there, but in general I can't say I really liked the entire experience.
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Summary: After the spectacular opening, I was really psyched for the rest, but the constant gear-changing just got tiring, and while it may be the point, was just tiring.