The Young Lions ★★★½

The many faces of war - one's loyalty for motherland, one's for his loved one and the third's to himself. Marlon Blondie's (you'll get it, watch the film) venturesome performance as misguided but ultimately good-spirited Nazi officer could belong among his most underrated outputs yet one of the most approachable ones. Could it ultimately happen to anyone of us? At one point we believe that things can change and the next we notice we are somewhere where we can't get out. The Young Lions isn't all that facile like something in the veins of The Desert Rats, rather it offers couple notable scenes that raise the hairs on my hand up.

Perhaps the most terrifying scene takes place in the hospital where Brando's captain is covered in package like mummy, with only mouth barely visible. The two whisper together and then captain, who just few moments ago boasted that he'll shoot Brando as a traitor, decides to show routine he's been "practicing" with another patient who wants to die. Learning how to die - even for a Nazi, that is rather terrifying destiny but ultimately the gap from health to near-death is similar of falling from good thoughts to evil ones. At one point the world is on our finger-tips and the next, it is far away. Later we learn that the captain has killed himself instead of another patient, if there ever was one.

It isn't a film that sympathies Nazis but I think Brando convinced me better than Clift (whose performance is very similar to From Here to Eternity) or Martin in his typical drunk role. The film tries to take hold of too much at once - it has great ideas but it still seems to slip even for almost three hour duration. It's almost impossible to capture the whole range of war, its countless emotions and millions of cries but The Young Lions doesn't shy away from an attempt.

Vadekawa liked this review