During World War I, the British are losing the fight as the German forces grow stronger each day and take more ground. Soon, a major discovery is made that the Germans are working underground, keeping their forces hidden from the battlefield.
With this new intel, a group of British miners are approached and recruited. Their job is to dig underground through thick clay and set explosives, hopefully destroying the underground German soldiers and perhaps some of their secret bases. The leader of the British miners is a man named William (Sam Hazeldine), who was previously rejected from joining the army due to failing his physical. Now William is given the opportunity he has always wanted to serve on the battlefield to stop the war for the sake of his wife and only child.
When it comes to cinema, I certainly have seen my fair share of war films. Thankfully The War Below brings something different with its story and concept. Sure, it’s still a war film, but the idea of men having to dig through clay and survive a different kind of battlefield held my engagement and fascination. Those who love a good war film will be pleased. It’s dramatic, and there are many moments of tension and suspense. One example of this is watching our leads be silent underground when they suspect that perhaps German forces are next to them, separated by only thin clay walls.
Those who love a good audio track with clear and crisp sound will admire the film’s sound effects. Gunshots and especially explosions deliver an impacting punch, and, at times, these impacts surprised me. Visually, the film is gritty and dark, a perfect reflection of the war. Performances from leads are great, especially from actors Sam Hazeldine and Tom Goodman-Hill. Some performances in the film from side characters are weaker than the leads and are either acted over the top or feel more suitable for a television drama.
Overall, while movie lovers everywhere have surely seen many war films in the cinema, I assure you, you haven’t seen one like this. The War Below introduces a new aspect when it comes to war and the battlefield. I enjoyed the concept of an equally dangerous and suspenseful war beneath the battlefield. The film carries an excellent audio track, and audiences will feel and hear every bang and blast on screen. Leading performances are highly pleasing, but I found some of the side performances weaker and, at times, unfitting. Lovers of war and drama films should seek this film out as I was blown away by the on-screen experience.