Film & DVD Reviews: Flyboys

  • Directed by: Tony Bill
  • Certification: UK:12
  • Running Time: 133 minutes
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Oct 2007Flyboys got mediocre reviews from most of the critics. Yet I found much to like in the film. It tells the true story of the Escadrille LaFayette (named after the French general who aided America during the Revolutionary War) faithfully. It’s an interesting story too: theFrench air-combat unit that welcomed American volunteers before the United States’ entry into the First World War. The action scenes are great and the digital sequences are so skillfully integrated that it is impossible to tell the real from the digital planes (I tried!).

    The film centres on the vounteers: Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) and fellow pilots William Jensen (Philip Winchester), Lyle Porter (Michael Jibson), Eddie Beagle (David Ellison), Eugene Skinner (Abdul Salis), and Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine). We should also remember the incredible courage shown by these pilots. The parachute was not in use – if their aircraft was hit the pilots had pistols, so that they could shoot themselves rather than burn alive. We should also remember their excitement and enthusiasm: the aeroplane had only recently been invented!

    The romantic storyline of the relationship between Rawlings and local French girl Lucienne (Jennifer Decker). is interesting and isn’t just there to fill the gaps in-between the fighting. It grows slowly, almost languidly.

    I also liked the fact that the German foe wasn’t depicted in a stereotypical way. The film is carefully balance. The German pilot with a red colored Fokker D-VII Triplane crossed swords marked spares an American pilot when he knows his machine gun was jammed. The pilot of the Black Fokker with black falcon markings is more ruthless.

    Don’t listen to the naysayers: this is an entertaining family film.

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