Exclusive to Palace Nova Cinemas. Now showing.
Review by Geoff Jenke
Biographical drama is one of French cinema’s most established and beloved genres, and Gabriel Le Bomin’s De Gaulle stirringly depicts a crucial period in the life of one of the most famous figures in the nation’s modern history, doing it enormous justice in the process.
It is May 1940, where the war between Germany and its neighbours has intensified. Shockingly, the French army collapses, and Hitler seizes Paris. The government is in panic and considers accepting defeat, but recently promoted two-star General Charles de Gaulle (The Translators’ Lambert Wilson), wants to change the course of history.
His wife, Yvonne (Isabelle Carré), is his first support, but very quickly events spiral out of control and separate them – she and their children set out on the roads of exodus, as Charles travels to London to meet with Winston Churchill (played by Tim Hudson). He wants to make another voice heard: that of resistance. Matching the impact and scale of recent war dramas The Darkest Hour and The King’s Choice as it depicts crucial incidents in gripping tick-tock fashion, Le Bomin expertly mixes the historic and the Romanesque, charting both a military debacle and the eventual revelation of a destiny.
With the success of the movie Dunkirk a few years back, this could be seen as a worthy follow up as to what happened next in France. It is a politically thriller with the President of France, the French forces leaders, Winston Churchill and De Gaulle all trying to do what each think is best for France as the German army approaches. But, through the eyes of De Gaulle’s family, it also shows the despair and hopelessness of the ordinary people of France as Germany invades their country. For many in the country, this is the second time in their life that they are going through an invasion, losing everything they own as well as years of their own life.
Beautifully shot and while Lambert Wilson plays a credible Charles De Gaulle, the film does confirm Charles De Gaulle status as a hero with his people.
The film is a good history lesson while being enjoyable, even with the slightly soap opera ending.
De Gaulle has a special advance screening at Palace Nova Cinemas on ANZAC Day April 25th ahead of a full national theatrical release from May 6th.