By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on December 5, 2015)
Breaker Morant– The Criterion Collection Blu-ray
Few films have conveyed the madness of war more succinctly than Bruce Bereford’s moving 1980 drama. Based on a true story, it recounts the courts martial of three Australian officers (Edward Woodard, Bryan Brown and Lewis Fitz-gerald) by their British higher-ups during the Boer War. The three are accused of shooting enemy prisoners (even though they did so under orders from superior officers). They are hastily assigned a military lawyer (a fellow Australian) with no previous experience in criminal defense (Jack Thompson, in a star-making performance), who surprises even himself with his passion and resourcefulness in the face of stacked odds. Marvelously acted and tightly directed, with an intelligent script by Beresford, Jonathan Hardy and David Stevens (from Kenneth G. Ross’ play). It’s a perfect film in every way.
Criterion’s Blu-ray sports a sharp transfer and extras that lend deeper historical context.