Before Dawn – REVIEW

Before Dawn – REVIEW
Image: BEFORE DAWN film still

A predominantly young cast star in this Australian WWI drama which is based on true events.

Set between 1915 – 1917, the story is seen through the eyes of a young man named Jim Collins who left his family’s sheep farm in Western Australia, joined the ANZAC’s and set off with several mates to fight for his country on the Western Front (in France).

His father advised him not to go but ill-informed Jim responded, “Going to war is better than riding a horse all day on the farm. I’m old enough, I can shoot – I would be valuable.”

He had no idea what awaited him, and his expectations were quickly shattered as the reality of war sunk in – the muddy trenches, the constant rain, fear, exhaustion, and the stench of death. He saw his mates one by one perish on the battlefields and faced mental anguish and a very uncertain future.

BEFORE DAWN film still

From a scared young man who seemed physically and mentally inept and more of a hindrance on the battlefield, a hero ultimately emerged as he risked his life to save the life of another soldier.

The story is told over incremental time frames, building until the final scene which occurs at 903 days. Audiences will be transported to the trenches and on the battlefield, experiencing all the horrors and atrocities, witnessing the heroic transformation of a young private.

This is one of the most ambitious Australian movies produced in recent years which boasts a mammoth production design. The contrast from the serene blue skied farming areas in Western Australia to the blood-spattered battlefields incorporating kilometers of rat-infested muddy trenches, compound to the horrific authenticity of the story.

Levi Miller, who as a child was cast as Peter Pan in the feature film Pan (2015), plays the role of Jim a young man who goes to war to make his father proud and also to better himself. Miller is outstanding in the role and through his performance audiences should feel his fear and the dehumanizing effect that warfare has upon him – and his eventual alteration into a brave young soldier, as military victory against the Germans is looming.

Before Dawn is yet another movie that tells authentic stories borrowed from the diaries of the ANZACS who died fighting for their country. There can never be too many ANZAC based movies. There’s no sugar coating in this story. The repellent and horrifying nature of war is evident in every frame.

War. What was it all for?

Lest We Forget…


In Cinemas April 4


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