The moment in history depicted in this film is the invasion by the Japanese into New Guinea in World War 2. A situation that directly threatened Australia as most of the Allied forces were consumed with fighting their own battles many thousands of miles away.
Australia felt the need to go into this hostile territory to fight off the Japanese enemy in its advance or allow them invade Oz. Lots of volunteer troups were enlisted these were known as "chocco's" to bolster the regular army. They lacked training and were badly kitted out for a war such as this.
The film clearly depicts how men enlist for war for the good reasons but when the reality of death shows itself the basic human instinct of survival takes over.
First time director Alister Grierson and co-writer John Lonie wisely decided to take a small incident to humanise the situation rather than try for an historical docu-drama. The result is a tense, superbly acted and directed 90 minutes that never loses its grip.
This film does have it's flawsbut is definitely worth seeing. The visuals work really well however the plot takes some understanding at times. I found myself much closer to to understanding the terrifying experience these men endured, and the courage they needed to survive it.
Grierson's starting point are the words of the Isurava Memorial. It was the 'courage, mateship, endurance and sacrifice' of the boys and men of the 39th, 2/14th and 2/16th battalions, that bound these ordinary individuals together.
The film is graphic in its depiction of the demands that that environment makes upon you physically. Though while watching it you might not feel the strength sapping jungle humidity or smell the stench of battle and its aftermath, you're left in no doubt about the challenges placed on human bodies by dysentery and malaria.
This is no glorification of war, but its grim and gritty reality. Seeing the film will help you appreciate the efforts of those who were there.
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Tv & Film kokoda: 39th Battalion
- Release Date:
- Directed By:
- Alister Grierson
- Run Time:
- 92 minutes
- Script written by:
- Alister Grierson & John Lonie