Overlord Movie Review
Overlord Movie Review Metadata
It kind of cracks me up knowing that there are Vets getting passes for Overlord (2018) because it’s essentially a WWII drama about the hours leading up to Operation Overlord, which was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, June 6, 1944. They will no doubt be treated to thrilling scenes of battle, parachuting, planes going down and the usual cacophony of war – but oh, wait – what’s in the church basement…?
I mean, check out the logline for Overlord on IMBD: The story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day.
Don’t get me wrong – this is totally accurate. There are Americans, a French town, a sympathetic French woman, and Nazis. This is a WWII action thriller about soldiers sent to take down a signal on top of a church jamming tower to end the occupation of France.
Private Boyse (Jovan Adepo) is a part of a team of American soldiers sent to sweep the Nazi-occupied French countryside to make way for Operation Overlord. It is June 5, 1944, and they have less than a day to get the job done. As with plans during active combat, things go awry and the plane is shot down leaving 5 survivors to do the job of dozens if not hundreds. Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) gives the orders on the ground, tasked to finish the mission and bring down the tower.
Private Tibbet (John Magaro) is all tough-guy New Yawk and has some pretty charming scenes with a youngster named Paul (Gianny Taufer), who idolizes Americans from their baseball to their attitudes. Chase (Iain De Caestecker) is an embedded war photographer, and Private Rosenfield (Dominic Applewhite) is total BFF to Boyse. Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) is the French scavenger struggling to provide for her brother Paul and her “sick” aunt. She can provide temporary shelter and a diversion and will risk everything to rid her town of the Germans. She’s plucky without being wilting. She fights without getting in the way and she doesn’t have to be saved.
Oh, but what’s in the basement of the church – Nazis, of course, and something viscous and alien the Germans are testing on the French to create monstrous things. It’s no historical secret the Germans were experimenting on the people they captured to “give their lives purpose” and Overlord takes the logical leap to supernatural science. Test subjects are taken out and either burned to death or returned to their families damaged and suffering, and the dead are injected with a fluid to make them invincible.
We don’t call them “zombies” in 1944.
But understand, the experiments are more or less a secondary plot. The mission is the tower. The German doctors and their tests are just another obstacle. It keeps you off balance because they both must be dealt with extreme urgency. It’s a lot all at once.
You know what I liked a lot – the Nazis in the movie don’t have backstories or dossiers or pictures of their families. They’re Nazis, so they can all die in a fire and we never have to care one whit about who they’re leaving behind. Monsters don’t have families, they have an evil agenda and they all need to die. There are no sympathetic Nazis, thank you J.J. Abrams.
I want to make this clear – while these are very green privates (ho-ho), these are still soldiers of the American Army and they are bad-ass. They shoot to kill, they fight with precision, and while they are rightfully terrified, they are honorable in their duty. I loved that about this film. I loved seeing soldiers there to do the job, not overly macho, just determined. Aces. They’re also very fleshed out because there’s a story here about war, the people involved and the monsters they battle. You don’t walk away wondering how well you knew them or what their motives were, and your heart is broken for it.
You might wonder about the source of the serum and how the Nazis found it, but that’s an explanation for another movie. If there’s one thing I like about JJ Abrams, he doesn’t dwell on backstory if the backstory isn’t necessary. It simply is – it’s there, no one knows about it and if the Americans fight with everything they’ve got, it’ll stay hidden forever.
This is not a Cloverfield (2008) sequel though it could be debated that Overlord is part of the same universe. Unexplained goo, supernatural evil, humanity’s fight like heck to survive. This movie is loud and action-packed, with tension and thrills to satisfy both your war fiends and your horror buffs. Be advised, there’s enough body horror here to put the most strident buff off her lunch – tubes, broken necks, moving bits in hanging bags. It’s a lot.
Overlord (2018) is Rated R for swears, soooooooo. much. blood, body horror, a head on an exposed spine that pleads for mercy, torture, non-consensual sex, broken necks, arms, legs, people getting shot, soldiers dying a lot, death by immolation, and really fast undead creatures. If you’re sound sensitive, bring earplugs, if you’re blood sensitive, stay home.