The War Game

DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of The War Game
The War Game is among the films screening in Berwick

Shot in a deliberately realistic style, the quality of this print does have plenty of scratch and grain but much of that is down to Watkins himself, who often scuffed up film to make it appear more realistic and 'newsreel-like'. This 'ageing' of the film only adds to the realistic feel of the documentary, however, and is certainly not something which should put you off buying it.

The extras compliment those on the BFI's other recent release, Culloden, perfectly, making them the ideal partners for Watkins' fans. The commentary track by Patrick Murphy - one of Watkins' biographers - is interesting and informative, describing in detail how the film came to be and why it was banned in the first place.

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The only disappointment is that, yet again, they haven't managed to get Peter Watkins to volunteer anything about the film himself, such a shame considering that his views on the subject would add greatly to our understanding of his motivations and feelings when the film was banned. Instead we are left to judge him on his work with the help of Murphy and a second short film, The Diary of an Unknown Soldier, which first got him noticed at the BBC but which bears the marks of being a much earlier, less sophisticated film.

Overall, this is an excellent DVD package which sits particularly well when watched against Culloden, offering an insight into the man and his documentaries for both existing fans and newcomers to his work.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2007
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The War Game packshot
What would happen if a nuclear bomb hit Kent?
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Product Code: BFIVD543

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Mono

Extras: Commentary by Patrick Murphy, The Diary of an Unknown Soldier, Director's biography

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