However what's unfortunate to mention is that there's a lot that holds this film back, maybe more that comes to personal preference, from being something that maybe with possible inevitable sequels that come out of this (cause despite my problems with it i'm so down for trying to maybe expand on some of this if they're willing to) it can be fixed but for now stick to: Ok characters that unfortunately aren't given much of any full investment or interesting dynamics to help add to the films story (despite their great acting and one of the sub-villains being pretty cool), cinematography that maybe just again is personal preference but felt so artificial at times and wished it was given some more grounded/dynamic camerawork to help add to the tone, an unbearable and inappropriately used soundtrack, often contrasting tone, really formulaic editing that I swear to god even reuses the same shot twice when cutting to a characters face which was so bad it was jarring to the core, and honestly having too much of a straightforward story that doesn't add anything to make this feel immersing or almost 'iconic' to stick with and plays it very by the numbers; which would be fine if the characters had more than what they had going for and not a very linear ending.
So overall while I have a lot of conflicting thoughts with how some major elements played into a lot of the execution of the film, Overlord I must say must be commended for trying to stick with such a balanced (least in story and tone) way and especially in such a sea of endless sequels and connections to other IP's that it thankfully became its own thing. Maybe with some better inclusion to some of its characters to the story and perhaps maybe trying to end it on more grounded terms (perhaps maybe with a dark/noble ending) then this would've probably worked for me better; but as it stands its still honestly solid for what it is. Definitely check it out when you can, has its B-movie moments that I think a lot of people will have a good time with.
My father volunteered to fight the Nazis in World War II as a Navigator in the Army Air Corps, including two missions on D-Day over Normandy. I say this because OVERLORD, directed by Julius Avery and written by Billy Ray (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS) and Mark L. Smith (THE REVENANT) opens on that historic day as a squad of paratroopers prepare to jump behind enemy lines to knock out a German radio tower atop a church. It's an extremely intense sequence, introducing the characters while surrounded by utter mayhem. Of course, things don't go according to plan, leaving the remains of the group with a ticking clock story - destroy the tower or the Allies will surely lose the battle. Think of it as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN except in the air and the mcguffin they seek is a thing and not a person. As such, it's a sound concept for a war movie and the execution is bracing. But then...
[SPOILERS - NEXT PARAGRAPH]
...faster than you can say, "Holy Cloverfield!", producer J.J. Abrams pulls a fast one on the audience and introduces...wait for it...wait for it...ZOMBIES! Not just any zombies, but the results of Nazi experiments to create "1000 year soldiers for the 1000 year reich". In the bowels of the church, the Nazis have figured out a way to reanimate people and give them superhuman strength and a good shot at immortality.
Damn, and here I thought this was gonna be a Cloverfield origin story! If only! What we end up with is a pulpier, gorier Nazi revisionist fantasy in the INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS realm, but somehow these B-movie affectations rubbed me the wrong way here. Tarantino didn't turn his bad guys into X-Men. The Nazis did unspeakably terrible things to humanity, the likes of which we are still experiencing to this day. To suggest they had supernatural capabilities to produce monsters detracts from the fact that these were human beings committing atrocities on other humans. I was fairly offended and sat there the whole time thinking, these filmmakers know better, right? Right?
If you were to separate the historical context from this fllm, however, I can see why people would find it to be a sensationally fun, action packed, David Cronenberg level of outrageously gory splatter fest. It also has a very talented cast who deliver the right amount of Hollywood verve to put across the very odd tone of it all. Let's start with Jovan Adepo, who made a mark in FENCES, and plays Boyce, the fresh recruit who has a far way to go to prove he has the right stuff. Told from his point of view, we feel every inch of his disorientation as things go from harrowing to disgustingly strange. He's matched by Wyatt Russell, who seems to be doing a spot-on imitation of his famous father in THE THING. He's the squad leader who keeps everyone focused on the mission, and he just doesn't have time for anything else. John Magaro "dems, deezes and dozes" his way through the Brooklyn guy character while Mathilde Ollivier matches the men perfectly as a not so innocent French villager with a younger brother who gets in the way at all times and a very very sick aunt upstairs. Neither problem is going to go away in this film very easily. Finally, on the villain side of things we have Pilou (Euron Greyjoy) AsbŠk as your garden variety Nazi sadist/rapist/all around terrible person.
Like JAWS, it takes a long long time for this film to show its cards. Just when you thought you were enjoying a war film, things start looking like THE FLY had a baby with REANIMATOR and cue body horror images for days. Ultimately, the filmmakers decided to pull the rug out from under themselves by suggesting that the rest of the world may never know what really happened. It's yet another time I groaned audibly. A shame, since I have a soft spot in my heart for these kinds of genre movies. But truth be told, I like my pulp with a little more fiction.