Seamlessly interweaving archival war footage and a fictional narrative, Stuart Cooper’s immersive account of one twenty-year-old’s journey from basic training to the front lines of D-Day brings all the terrors and isolation of war to life with jolting authenticity. Overlord, impressionistically shot by Stanley Kubrick’s longtime cinematographer John Alcott, is both a document of World War II and a dreamlike meditation on man’s smallness in a large, incomprehensible machine. —The Criterion Collection
A great technical achievement and a unique take on a soldiers life. It's focus on the mundane reminds one that the "excitement" of war is but a flash compared to the endless time allowed for contemplation, fear, confusion, and the myriad other emotions that a soldier must face in between facing bullets.
"A year after Overlord came out, John Alcott won a cinematography Oscar for Barry Lyndon. Kubrick asked Alcott to bring me in for a meeting as he had just seen Overlord. We talked mechanics. He was interested in the archive, the lenses and how we blended the footage. At the end he said, You know Stu, I've got one problem with the film... It's an hour and a half too short." (Stuart Cooper)
I found the first 35 minutes very boring indeed, but after that it picked up a lot. The “plot” was predictable (young everyman called up, trained by idiots, reduced to a cipher and then sacrificed… read review
It takes a pretty tactful director to pull of a film about war that intertwines archival war footage with a fictional narrative. Resnais definitely accomplished this with Hiroshima Mon Amor. And… read review