Edward Karam
December 13, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Gallipoli

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
performer
Mel Gibson, Mark Lee
director
Peter Weir
author
Peter Weir
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

Two young runners (a rakish Mel Gibson and an angelic Mark Lee) meet, bond, and enlist in World War I for ”an all-out assault on Johnny Turk” at Gallipoli. Gallipoli director Peter Weir’s visuals — a trek across the outback, a barrage of shrapnel whooshing past men diving underwater — are stunning, but he also enriches the story with subtlety and irony (men leaving the trenches shake hands with a corpse). The heartbreaking final scenes of Aussie youths matching their bayonets against machine guns elevate the film to an antiwar masterpiece. EXTRAS In a making-of doc, we learn that Weir balked at depicting Gallipoli, an overly familiar battle to schoolboys Down Under, until a walk through the trenches changed his mind. Lee says that worry about his inexperience led him to quit the first day, but Weir distracted him by rehearsing the dialogue while blasting a Ry Cooder album.

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