Release Date: February 16th, 2007 (Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by The Weinstein Company.
The Cast: Jamel Debbouze, Sami Bouajila, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Bernard Blancan, Mathieu Simonet, Benoît Giros, Antoine Chappey, Assaad Bouab, Aurélie Eltvedt Directed by Rachid Bouchareb.
In French and Arabic with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: A group of Algerian Muslim soldiers fight for France against the Nazis during World War II.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Just like the recent Letters from Iwo Jima, Days of Glory grips you from start to finish with its powerful story of four Algerian soldiers who join the French army to defeat the Nazis during World War II. These soldiers include Saïd (Debbouze), Messaoud (Zem), Yassir (Naceri) and his brother, Larbi (Bouab). Their arrogant Sergeant (Blancan), doesn’t treat them with much respect, although he does form a father-son-like bond with Saïd. Co-writer/director Rachid Bouchareb does a terrific job of humanizing each of these characters so that they’re not just mere soldiers fighting for their life in a war. They all come from poor families. Messaoud has a brief romance with a beautiful French woman, Irène (Eltvedt). Saïd steals jewelry he finds on corpses to help support his brother’s wedding. They all go through two essentially different battles: one obvious one against the Nazis and another more internal battle against unfair treatment compared to French soldiers. It’s also worth mentioning the beautiful cinematography and use of color, especially as the some aerial scenes start in black-and-white and, gradually, get wiped out by color. What truly keep you engaged, though, are the convincing performances by each distinguishable soldier and the script’s attention to detail. You truly end up caring about them throughout this powerful, engrossing memorable war film. SPIRITUAL VALUE: Of course, war is hell to many soldiers and they don’t understand what the true purpose of their fighting is during battle, other than fighting for Frances’ freedom from the Nazis. Their bravery, determination and camaraderie feel quite moving and even inspiring to watch during those difficult times.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Powerful and engrossing! One of the best war films since Saving Private Ryan.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "D" Menu