- Release Date: 07/11/2018
- Director: Julius Avery
- Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Oliver, Pilou Asbæk
Overlord has been praised by a lot of people who have found it intriguing and entertaining to the hilt. Right from the opening sequence that shows a company of soldier being dropped behind German lines on the eve of D-Day to the well choreographed and graphic violence featuring some really well rendered undead characters. The film to these people felt like a breath of fresh air. They also went to the extent of saying that it was a film that bordered on being a horror film. These people also praised the performances and the overall thrill factor in the narrative.
Having taken all that into account, I still couldn’t help but feel a rather prolonged lull in the narrative before something substantial starts to happen in the film. No one walked into this film to see a la-Saving Private Ryan-esc rendering of a story that is fairly simple and one dimensional. But for a good chunk of the film’s runtime, it borders on being a drama showing some horrific scenes behind the lines that are not exactly in keeping with the mood and feel that the film should have gone for. The director must have thought that all this would add to the film’s respectability and believability and it does for a while but it isn’t long before you start missing some action and pure popcorn fun. This is where Overlord became a less rewarding experience for me.
A company of soldiers is dropped behind German lines in France on the eve of D-Day. After surviving a graphic and brutal onslaught by the German batteries, some of the soldiers re-group and try to take down their mission objective, a Signal tower that needs to be destroyed. Little do they know that the tower stands above a secret research lab of the Germans wherein they are trying to convert their dead or injured soldiers into indomitable beasts who would be capable of realizing the dream of a 1000 year Reich as they just refuse to die. The soldiers find themselves in a tricky situation as their compatriots end up in German captivity and the ones who are free must now race against time and a marauding army to save their compatriots as well as destroy the tower.
There are two sequences in the film that really went well for me. The sequence wherein the soldiers are dropped behind enemy lines is one of the high points of the film. I just loved the way they envisioned this sequence. The viewer lands up smack in the middle of the action with planes going down, stuff blowing up, and soldiers getting entangled in their own parachute and dying. There is a sense of physicality and awe to this portion that really makes it stand out. The final action sequence wherein the allied soldiers have to stand up against an enhanced enemy is also very well done. There is another portion somewhere in the middle where one of the allied soldiers is injected with a serum that turns him into an undead. This sequence really crawled under my skin. There are some more bits here and there that extract intrigue and awe from the viewers but they are just not sizable enough to merit a mention.
My problem with the film was that the sequences mentioned above were far apart and too few. The rest of the film is spent in building up to these sequences and when they finally unfold, they are not exactly worth the wait. The performances, though consistent, don’t have the kind of charisma that would have made the actors mention-able. They are mere cogs to further the story and the visuals and they do exactly that in the most stoic manner possible. Not even the child artist extracts any true fear for his safety when he comes under risk. That is also because the character buildup and arch for every actor is so very superficial.
Overlord would have worked well had the characters been better built, the action and carnage a little more prevalent and had it not been so devoid of fun. It does have wonderful visuals on its side and an absolutely stunning opening sequence to start with but that’s about it. The film checks every box for being a zombie flick but the unnecessary drag that it subjects its viewers to coupled with the bland performances and lack of action makes the film miss it’s mark. When the trailer of the film ended with the masterful hook of “what’s behind the walls?” I couldn’t wait to watch this film. I just wish the actual film was half as interesting as that hook in the trailer.
Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)