They Shall Not Grow Old – Movie Review

They Shall Not Grow Old

The horrible film you have to watch

I went into this movie expecting something that would be hard to swallow. Little did I know just how hard the content was going to be to watch.

They shall not grow old is a retelling and reshowing of the horrors of WW1 based on retouched archive material both in picture and film form. There is no grand narrator voice anywhere in the movie but rather a few soft spoken British people telling us their stories from the war. For this film they used interviews conducted in the sixties to act as narration.

The director is rather unexpected but very welcome. It is surprisingly none other than Peter Jackson who is mainly known for the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit series of movies. He knows how to make something as seemingly dull as a documentary to be extremely engaging. The voices are never named but yet we as the audience feel engaged at everything they say. As cinematography goes this is an excellent piece of anonymous storytelling.

It was interesting to observe my surroundings at the screening. You could almost taste the uneasy feeling that spread through the theater after the jolly beginnings of the movie. When some of the more gruesome war stories were told and shown, a few people left the theatre. Some seemingly ran towards the bathrooms.

My generation is very disconnected to WW1 since we have no living relatives to tell us about it. Yet after seeing this film I feel a connection and fear to the horrors of that war. It was the war to end all wars yet knowing what came after made the film even more powerful. The movie is sad, angering and very heavy. Yet I really recommend you go see it. It is a horrible film that you need to watch just so you can get a greater understanding of something that is no longer close to our generations’ memory.

Spegeln is a collaboration partner with Best in Malmö.