Though impressively ambitious and making the most of a small budget and talented cast, director Ari Taub's feature concentrates so intently on the day-to-day minutiae of infantry life on World War II's European front that the bigger picture gets lost.
Directed by Ari Taub with a naturalistic style and a nonpartisan eye, The Fallen finds its humanity in the dailiness of a soldier's life, in the long stretches of nothing, where tensions swell and the killing of a deer can spark a mutiny.
Thankfully, The Fallen is neither dour nor sentimental, but while the scope is ambitious and the tone refreshingly light on moralism, few of the innumerable characters and subplots elicit much sympathy.
The European actors (especially Sartor) give commendably realistic performances, but the film suffers from an episodic script, which contributes to the sense of anticlimax when the battle finally arrives.
This crazily ambitious film is saddled with a musical score that's often jarringly jolly and a screenplay so busy jumping from platoon to platoon that no single story ever takes hold. Yet, all is not lost. The photography and period detailing are excellent, and Taub, who displays real feeling for the innocent bystanders of war, finds the occasional small, surprising moment.