Thursday, August 1, 2019

They Shall Not Grow Old (Review)



They Shall Not Grow Old is a 2018 documentary film directed and produced by Peter Jackson. The film was created using original footage of World War I from the Imperial War Museum's archives, most of it previously unseen, all over 100 years old by the time of release. Audio is from BBC and Imperial War Museum (IWM) interviews of British servicemen who fought in the conflict. Most of the footage has been colorized and transformed with modern production techniques, with the addition of sound effects and voice acting to be more evocative and feel closer to the soldiers' actual experiences. It is Jackson's first documentary as director, although he directed the mockumentary Forgotten Silver in 1995 and produced the West Memphis Three documentary West of Memphis in 2012. Jackson, whose grandfather (to whom the film is dedicated) fought in the war, intended for the film to be an immersive experience of "what it was like to be a soldier" rather than a story or a recount of events. The crew reviewed 600 hours of interviews from 200 veterans and 100 hours of original film footage to make the film. The title was inspired by the line "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old" from the 1914 poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, famous for being used in the Ode of Remembrance. They Shall Not Grow Old premiered simultaneously at the BFI London Film Festival and in selected theaters in the UK on 16 October 2018, before airing on BBC Two on 11 November 2018 (the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918); it received a limited US release on 17 December. Following its box office success, the film received a wide theatrical release in February 2019. It was acclaimed by critics for its restoration work, immersive atmosphere and portrayal of war, and earned a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

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