Two Men Went to War is a little known film that saw a very limited release and stars no big names. Nevertheless, it is a surprisingly entertaining, though ultimately ordinary, film by director John Henderson.
The movie is based on the true story of Sgt. Peter King and Private Leslie Cuthbertson, two men serving in the British Army Dental Corps during WWII. King, who has been deemed too old to fight, and Cuthbertson, who is considered to be a tad slow in the head, are both frustrated about cleaning teeth when their countrymen are dying in France, so they do what any logical soldier would do and head to the war zone by themselves. After stealing a boat, they finally venture beyond enemy lines and attempt to blow up a German operations center. Their story came to light when they were picked up in the English Channel and court martialed for deserting and/or being spies. This is their story, granted with a comedic touch.
The story is quite extraordinary to be true, which makes it all the better, and the light touch of comedy makes Two Men Went to War an enjoyable experience. The two lead actors, Kenneth Cranham and Leo Bill, play well off of each other, Cranham playing the crankier and wiser Sgt. King, Bill playing the more comedic Private Cuthbertson. The acting isn't incredible, but good enough.
Two Men Went to War has some funny parts, but suffers from being perhaps a little too laid back. After all, the movie is trying to be funny without making a complete joke out of these two naively brave men. What results is a comedy that doesn't quite have enough laughs, or a war drama that isn't very dramatic.
To paraphrase, Two Men Went to War isn't a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but doesn't quite have the "oomph" to make an impact. This is a movie that very few people will hear about and will probably be forgotten completely in a few year's time, not because it is bad but because it just doesn't have anything remarkable enough to leave a lasting impression.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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