Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Female Agents: Honoring the Women Agents of WWII

It's 1944 and Churchill's SOE group has their sights set on Normandy. A captured British geologist threatens to ruin everything and quite possibly, turn the tide of the war in the German's favor. They must retrieve him from the clutches of the Gestapo in France...and they trust 5 women and one man to the task.

There's a former prostitute in prison for a killing a man. She's recruited in exchange for her life. She surprised me and quickly became a favorite. the leader, the one who feels responsible. She's hardened, and I suppose she must be after watching her husband shot before her very eyes. There's some former dancer who romanced a Nazi officer. I didn't quite "get" her. Woman four is a young blonde, and the fifth is a Jewish Italian nurse who takes no nonsense.

The movie is action packed and suspenseful. Shooting, torture, secrets, jumping from airplanes, escaping the Gestapo. You never know who is going to be shot next or what plans will go awry. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, and the women are constantly fleeing for their lives or regrouping...or worse. Not everyone can withstand torture...

There's nudity. Some made perfect sense, such as the dancers distracting the hospital soldiers, but some of it didn't--the weird death scene in which the girl took all her clothes off... I couldn't figure that out.

As I said above, the former prisoner/woman of ill repute became a favorite of mine, though Louise and the Italian woman were very strong too. I could have done without Suzy and the blonde. 

I must say though, the characterizations were somewhat poorly done. My favorite woman made it clear she just wanted to take the money and run after the first task, what she'd agreed to, but then suddenly she became the most gung-go, the most determined to complete the next assignment. It was never explained, this change in her demeanor. And Suzy confused me.

I have a huge quibble: The movie is French and thus has English subtitles, but when they speak English, there is nothing, no captioning for the hearing impaired, nada. Thankfully these scenes are minor and I could get the gist of what was going on, but it made me disgruntled nevertheless.

The best part though is that apparently this movie was inspired by a real woman (Louise's character) named Lisé de Baissac and I feel that it made a great tribute to the women who helped Normandy come to pass and thus, won the war.

I rented this on Amazon.

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