New on DVD: Passchendaele

New on DVD: Passchendaele

There have been countless war movies tackling past and present conflicts. However, a small minority have actually told Canadian stories. In a rare declaration of national pride, the most savage battle of the First World War is told by Paul Gross through one-man’s perspective. Canada’s participation in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 defined our […]

Join the discussion: 3 replies

Be part of the conversation


There have been countless war movies tackling past and present conflicts. However, a small minority have actually told Canadian stories. In a rare declaration of national pride, the most savage battle of the First World War is told by Paul Gross through one-man’s perspective. Canada’s participation in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 defined our country in the eyes of the world but at a great loss.

After some highly disturbing combat experience, Sergeant Michael Dunne (Gross) wakes up in a hospital on Canadian soil. Sarah (Caroline Dhavernas), a beautiful young nurse, dutifully heals his physical wounds and simultaneously captures his heart. Michael returned, however, with irreparable emotional scarring and as a result is granted a stateside recruitment position. It is in this capacity he meets Sarah’s younger hot-headed brother, David (Joe Dinicol). They are a family also marked by the war, their father having died at Vimy Ridge. When Sarah’s fears for David are realized, it is Michael that follows him to the front to ensure his safety.

Gross accomplishes a stunning balance of beauty and horror. He captures the brute ferocity of the battlefield, confronting audiences with the realities of war. On the other hand, he displays images of love and entrancing prairie landscapes, which give Michael hope and purpose.

Gross’ passion for the subject fills every aspect of his performance, both as a filmmaker and actor. Furthermore, the supporting roles played by young actors Dhavernas and Dinicol are on par with Gross’ and contribute to the film’s dramatic success.

The DVD special feature is a 43-minute “making of” featurette titled “The Road to Passchendaele.” There are some interesting bits about the film’s historical accuracy and the inclusion of the Canadian Armed Forces. One small annoyance was the inability to skip the Blindness trailer at the beginning of the disc.


Discussion about New on DVD: Passchendaele

Please be respectful. Keep your criticsm constructive. Open your mind to new ideas and opinions. Comments are reviewed according to the submission guidelines.

3 replies about New on DVD: Passchendaele

  • Are you kidding me? How is the inability to “skip the Blindness trailer” at the beginning of the disc a reflection on the movie? Last time I checked, a DVD’s quality wasn’t measured by the previews that are included on it.

  • Actually, this is a DVD review – therefore even a minor glitch, such as not being able to reach the feature menu efficiently, is a noteworthy detail. It was not a comment on the film, which was discussed prior to the DVD elements, and is not reflected in the film’s overall rating.

  • fully agree with sarah…great film, great review, & when dvd watchers are forced to sit thru annoying trailers that cannot be skipped, it is an absolute turn-off….with you all the way, sarah….love it when canadian work is singled out for its true quality!!

Comments are closed.