DVD: Gettysburg

DVD: Gettysburg this almost four and a half hour long film feels like it’s only about 3 hours long. Nonetheless, it could probably do with some trimming back: at least one scene of dialogue felt like it had already been covered by other characters.

What to say of this historical epic that covers the decisive battle in the civil war? The film assumes that you have an understanding of the events, and even the main characters: as a non-civil-war-buff, my friends explained the history to me before we started: this perhaps spoiled the outcome, though looking at the epic assault on the final day of the battle, the results are predictable.

If you’re after a film that brings history to life in an era before computer-generated battles made everything appear a little too pristine and ordered, then this is worth a look. Through a combination of battle scenes and dialogue, the characters from both sides are presented as human: no-one really wants to be fighting their fellow countrymen, but – trapped by force of history – they do, and the results are terrible. In the three days of the battle of Gettysburg, out of 150,000 soldiers, 53,000 are killed.

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