Army of Shadows

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 84
  2. Negative: 6 out of 84

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User Reviews

  1. JohnN.
    Jul 9, 2007
    6
    I kept hoping for the plot to move forward, but it never picked up pace. The acting and cinematography were top notched but the story, outside of 1 or 2 good scenes just didn't hold my attention for 2 1/2 hours. PS..Had trouble with the DeNiro and Shelly Winters French look alikes...!?
  2. Robert
    Jun 3, 2006
    5
    I don't understand why did the critics give this film such a high rating? To me it's just an average movie. It's slow & too long & at times it's difficult to follow.
  3. LewisP.
    Jan 1, 2007
    5
    There is very little I can add to John E's excellent review of "Army of Shadows". The film was extremely slow-paced and would have been a lot better if many scenes had been pared down. And there were also some scenes that were simply too incredible to believe (for example when the protagonist (with the help of his confederates) escapes certain death by a German firing squad. This is There is very little I can add to John E's excellent review of "Army of Shadows". The film was extremely slow-paced and would have been a lot better if many scenes had been pared down. And there were also some scenes that were simply too incredible to believe (for example when the protagonist (with the help of his confederates) escapes certain death by a German firing squad. This is just another example of how the the majority of critics can't think for themselves and feel safe by jumping on the bandwagon. Expand
  4. JayC
    May 28, 2006
    6
    As a movie this film did not give much emotion to the lives of these heros. If felt so devoid of human emotions (as if they were already dead) that it felt like one long dreary story. Maybe it was the way it was, but I expected some brief moments of the love of life for which they were giving everything.
  5. ButteedPopcorn
    Jun 26, 2007
    5
    I agree entirely with all the others here that gave this film a 6 or lower. This film has its merits (beautiful imagery, well shot, superb acting), but it's slow for no apparent purpose, and lacks any directorial flare. It's just relentless, like a dirge rilled death march, that will just not break from its oppressive pacing for what seems like an eternity. The film takes a lot I agree entirely with all the others here that gave this film a 6 or lower. This film has its merits (beautiful imagery, well shot, superb acting), but it's slow for no apparent purpose, and lacks any directorial flare. It's just relentless, like a dirge rilled death march, that will just not break from its oppressive pacing for what seems like an eternity. The film takes a lot for granted. Be it assumed that these resistors have a passion for their cause, that it is a just cause, and that it is one worth sacrificing all for. But ultimately, the film lacked passion, and instead, was just over wrought with an oppressive sense of obligation, determination, and blind obedience to a cause. In many respects, a superb film, but it's sense of righteousness mired it down to the point where it became monotonous, tedious, and ultimately flat in the telling. That said, it is one hell of a dark, dismal vision that must have fairly well depicted what life had become for these Nazi resistors. Even so, the French still found a way to break for some wonderfully delightful lunches. Expand
  6. MerrillK.
    Jun 25, 2010
    5
    This movie is in need of serious editing. Good story, interesting from historical perspective. Unfortunately the film does not flow; characters get randomly introduced; I had no idea who the traitor that they strangled was - I thought he was the guy who was with Phillipe in the prison camp. Did that guy get shot off screen? Why did the young guy give himself up to the Nazi's rather This movie is in need of serious editing. Good story, interesting from historical perspective. Unfortunately the film does not flow; characters get randomly introduced; I had no idea who the traitor that they strangled was - I thought he was the guy who was with Phillipe in the prison camp. Did that guy get shot off screen? Why did the young guy give himself up to the Nazi's rather than try and break into the Gestapo HQ? Definitely not a Hollywood movie. But interesting story nonetheless. Expand
  7. JohnE.
    May 25, 2006
    5
    Army of Shadows is a straight forward historical tribute drawn from the accounts written in a novel by Joseph Kessel. The drama is about the co-patriot activities of the French Resistance fighters in World War II. The film has been hailed as a masterpiece by many critics, newspapers and magazines. This re-elease of the 1969 film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville is making its US debut in a Army of Shadows is a straight forward historical tribute drawn from the accounts written in a novel by Joseph Kessel. The drama is about the co-patriot activities of the French Resistance fighters in World War II. The film has been hailed as a masterpiece by many critics, newspapers and magazines. This re-elease of the 1969 film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville is making its US debut in a superbly restored print overseen by the films cinematographer, Pierre Lhomme. The expectation with these superlative credentials of all combined is a film of taught dramatic suspense ranking with the great ones in cinema. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For me, it failed to capture the imagination as an exceptional cinematic effort that delivered both the technical aspects and story movement to give it, a best of all time ranking. Although many of the scenes are wonderfully drawn cinematically from a technical standpoint of near artistic perfection of cinematography, set design and the recreation of events, the film lacks pace, and wanders from character to character who give fine efforts trying to interpet a rambling story changing directions, many times, leaving the audience lost to a clear understanding of the narrative. The difficulty comes in knowing, in real life, many people did give their lives for country and the empathy one must feel for this sacrifice. The theme then does stay true to form but lacks the dramatic tension found in the earlier films of Andrej Wadja in Ashes and Diamonds and Kanal, on the same theme and accomplished with much greater success. The best that can be said is excellence was with in reach here but was slowed by a long drawn out, heavy, tiresome directing pace needing a sharp rhythmic flow of images that is lacking in the final representation. Expand
  8. AndrewO.
    Sep 24, 2007
    5
    "It's a white-knuckler all the way..." "a brilliant and relentless thriller..." "excruciatingly tense and never less than heartbreakingly human..." ??? I wish I had seen the movie these folks had seen, but guess I missed it. You'd have to be a Franco-cinemaphile of the first order to derive that much enjoyment from this movie. Or it may be a serious case of the emperor's "It's a white-knuckler all the way..." "a brilliant and relentless thriller..." "excruciatingly tense and never less than heartbreakingly human..." ??? I wish I had seen the movie these folks had seen, but guess I missed it. You'd have to be a Franco-cinemaphile of the first order to derive that much enjoyment from this movie. Or it may be a serious case of the emperor's new clothes, I'm not sure which. Apart from the admittedly fine cinematography, I found this film to be meandering, turgid and uninvolving. To each his own, I suppose, but beware the hype. Expand
  9. AndrewH.
    Dec 2, 2008
    4
    Would have been bearable if not for the extremely slow pace. I'd rather be "entertained" by Hollywood trash than to sit through something like this.
  10. TomP
    Jun 25, 2009
    5
    I find it unfair for you to say that we do not know cinema. Maybe those who do not understand this movie simply don't understand cinema at the time of this movie's production, because by modern standards, there is very little drama or emotion, character development, or any character/ personality at all, excepting the men he meets at the beginning of the film in the concentration I find it unfair for you to say that we do not know cinema. Maybe those who do not understand this movie simply don't understand cinema at the time of this movie's production, because by modern standards, there is very little drama or emotion, character development, or any character/ personality at all, excepting the men he meets at the beginning of the film in the concentration camp. Whether you'd like to admit it or not, it does move at an excruciatingly slow pace. We don't need to see people that we have no real feelings towards walking for overextended periods of time, because it is NOT building any sort of suspense. Also, the almost constant absence of music is unbearable, although you might not believe so until you actually see it. That, and the story itself is quite unremarkable. For it's time I can see what makes it great, by today's standards is is simply...good. No more. Expand
  11. GaryD
    Jul 27, 2009
    4
    Beautiful, but frankly a bit of a snooze. I didn't find it an exercise in tension as many claim, but more an exercise in endurance.
Metascore
99

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    Infused with the bleak romanticism of Melville's gangster movies ("Le Samouraï," "Bob le Flambeur"), and deepened by his own experiences in the Resistance, this hard-bitten tribute to freedom fighters makes most current movies look flabby and undisciplined. Don't miss it.
  2. 90
    It's here that Melville fully achieved his notion of the sublime, applying "Le Samouraï's" "empty" compositions and near theatrical blocking, as well as its methodical suspense, cosmic fatalism, and sense of grim solitude, to a subject far closer to his heart, namely his own World War II experiences.
  3. Premiere
    Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    Composed of relatively few events and scenes, it's often excruciatingly tense and never less than heartbreakingly human. And as much as I admire "Munich," Shadows leaves Spielberg's film in the dust in the moral-ambiguity department. Never before seen in the States, it's already on my year's ten-best list. (April 2006 Premiere)