WWI Film Review – The Silent Mountain (2014)

As is usually the case, there are spoilers.

Ernst Gossner directs this WWI tale written by Clemens Aufderklamm about the clash of interests when a family is divided by political loyalties as war breaks out. The Silent Mountain (2014) stars some familiar faces, but in the end the story is a little flat, making this review less than deep. That said, the film is not without its very praiseworthy aspects.

The story follows the tale of Andreas and his sister Elisabeth, both children of a wealthy hotel keeper in the beautiful Dolomite Mountains. The family lives, unfortunately, on the border of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire, and when WWI breaks out, families are forced to divide along lines of political allegiance.

During Elisabeth’s wedding to Italian Angelo, the ceremony is abruptly sent into chaos due to the news of war. Andreas shelters Francesca, Angelos’ sister, who was separated from her family, and soon falls in love with her. She is hidden away in the depths of the hotel, and even Andreas’ parents cover for her, claiming she is a Hungarian hired maid.

Andreas must enlist, however, and is sent off to fight for a rather ecclectic and irresponsible commanding office who’s ideas and leadership are cavalier at best, and cost many lives.

Meanwhile, Angelo has a similar experience. Disgruntled and disappointed. He leaves to warn the enemy, his in-laws, after all, are among them. Both of the men are eager to find their way back to the border village where their loves await, and both find different fates. There is some good tension in the tale when Angelo resolves to make his move.

In the end, the climax was somewhat flat, though pleasant. The historical context was unique and provided a fresh look at WWI that few care to consider. The harsh terrain was amazing in beauty, and the production value was at times superb. It was a beautiful film, well appointed with the proper 1915 feel. I enjoyed that aspect of the movie.

Overall, I would rate the film a C+. It was a great effort, and the tale has great potential but is slow to develop. It was filmed very well, and the production value carries it a bit.

 

Enjoy some screen grabs from this beautiful film:

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