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Generation War

Generation War

On DVD: 
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gripping and yet problematic, Generation War is a fascinating tale that shouldn't be taken entirely as fact. The acclaimed three night event comes to DVD and Blu-ray on March 6th.

It's 1941 in Berlin, and Hitler is about to lead the Germans into the steppes of the Soviet Union, a long brutal fight that would ultimately weaken the Nazis and allow Allied forces to break their hold in Europe. But for five young Germans, this is a parting of ways for close friends. Wilhelm, a lietenant in the Wehrmacht, is heading to the Eastern Front. Friedheim, his brother, will be joining him for his first taste of war. Charlotte is volunteering as a field nurse. Greta, a singer, aspires to be the next Marlene Dietrich. And Viktor, a jewish tailor, watches as the world around him crumbles.

This four and a half hour event take you through the German experience of WWII, though many have criticised Generation War as not being accurate, and almost completely ignoring the concentration camps and the extermination of the jews. Much of the people are depicted as being swept up by the National fervor, helpless pawns in the machinations of the Nazi Party. These complaints definitely have merit, but then again we have seen time and again in American films the whole of the German people being caricatured as frothing zelots all marching lockstep with every detail of the plans to bring about the dominance of the master race. Taken alone, this series has many problems, but taken as a part of the conversation from a not-often-seen perspective it is a strong piece of work.

The performances in Generation War are great. Bold and believable. And the tale that weaves between the five characters and three fronts (the battlefield, the field hospital, and the city) is mesmerizing at times. The look of the series is superb.

While the stories told her definitely don't let the Third Reich off the hook, nor does it try to portray them as heroes, Generation War does feel a bit empty because it is missing those parts we often most associate with them. But perhaps that is a good thing, a necessary thing, to allow us to see something other than the emaciated ghosts haunting barbed wire fenced camps. Still, this is a television event worth watching, and worth talking about.

Review by Jason Pace
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