I don’t know why there aren’t many movies about World War I. It was horrifyingly brutal complete with fucking gas grenades, flame throwers, and deadly bayonet charges. Not to mention seeing tanks for the first time. The Lost Battalion is one of the rare movies about WWI following a group of soldiers who get stranded behind enemy lines. It’s based on real events that happened during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive towards the end of the war. Please do not be dismayed by the fact that this is a television movie because it’s a good one.
There’s zero melodrama and the action starts almost immediately. The director is none other than Russell Mulcahy, the guy behind such movies as Highlander, Ricochet, The Shadow, and Razorback. He managed to create an engaging and quite intense movie without making any of the usual compromises when it comes to this format. The storytelling is concise, the cinematography is excellent along with the sound editing. Overall, the production values are quite solid and the same can be said about the relatively unknown cast.
They brought to life these poor doughboys just trying to make it to another day. Ricky Schroder and Phil McKee, playing Charles and George, respectively, were excellent. Now, some of the banter perhaps feels a bit forced at times but it won’t spoil your viewing pleasure. At least we didn’t get the flashbacks of their worried families back home. We will spend almost all of our time on the battlefield, following the mess that was this offensive. If there’s one thing that you can notice in these sorts of movies it’s that the superiors always make mistakes.
It is the year of our lord Mars 1918 and Major Charles Whittlesey just received his orders. He’s to advance to enemy lines along with around 600 other soldiers and push them from Argonne forest. On his flanks, other regiments are also advancing, keeping them safe from enemy attacks. However, war has a way of making all your plans go to smoke. And turning your life into living hell.
I know, I know, out of all the famous battles, we’re exploring the one with the yanks. I mean, all this stuff did happen, so I think that there’s no problem here. The Great War was horrible and it negatively affected almost all the countries in the world. Including the United States.
The Lost Battalion offers a different type of action than other war movies. I mean, they used pigeons to relay messages back then for fuck’s sake! The story takes place in the infamous Argonne forest, a place you might have visited if you played Battlefield I. The video game features one hell of a multiplayer map simply titled Argonne Forest and I had to mention it.
Of course, if we’re talking about WWI movies, we must mention Sam Mendes’s masterpiece 1917. And Netflix already released All Quiet on the Western Front, so things are looking pretty good. If you’re looking for more similar movies check out The Trench starring Daniel Craig. I also have to mention another phenomenal television war movie, The Beast of War, focusing on a crew of a lost Soviet tank in Afghanistan. Finally, if you want to know more about events in the movie, you can start here: Lost Battalion (World War I). Just make sure you first watch the movie to avoid any spoilers.
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writer: James Carabatsos
Cast: Ricky Schroder, Phil McKee, Jamie Harris, Jay Rodan, Adam James, Daniel Caltagirone
Fun Facts: Produced by A & E channel although it was aired more on their sister network The History Channel. Shot in Luxembourg, not too far away from real Argonne forest.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0287535/