Sean Else (director)
Dark Matter (studio)
100 Minutes (length)
08 March 2018 (released)
08 March 2018
1901 South Africa. The Boer war has been raging for two years. The brutal British have imprisoned tens of thousands, killed thousands and wiped out farm and village. The Boer’s refuse to surrender however and stage an ongoing resistance. The British stand and increase the oppression. Imprisoning more and killing anyone who stands up or resists. When a camp of men is challenged to the super powers national sport of Rugby, will they stand and fight or step back and refuse?
Blood and Glory surfaced in 2016 and I had heard considerably good things. I am a fan of many films, but 2 films were mentioned in the same breath as this. The first being 1932 Cavalcade. That took on the legacy of the awful Boer war for the British serviceman on the ground. The other was Lagaan. Which stood up to the British empire and thwarted it with a dynamic zeal hard to ignore. Both of these films succeeded because of characters. Blood and Glory sadly is neither of these films. It is a considerable way from either in fact. Yes, it has the frame of normal people and war as forced attrition but it lacks the body of balance that would come from a well written character. Instead it opts for caricature. The ease of communicating how people suffer without it becoming a marvel of exploiting the events for political motivation is lost because of this.
Some have suggested the reason for the above is that first, Blood and Glory is a rather naive, pro Afrikaans nationalism piece. This is not exactly on the money. It is a film that serves that purpose but does this through motifs such as the camp commander as an example of British monotonousness or the Boer Willem Morkel, as a national rugby hero. However, it doesn’t traverse this overtly and instead explicitly plays on the acts of violence and intimidation. To make matter worse it navigates this conflict with little rationale or intellect and instead underlines a dangerous belief in Transvaal political circles, of a unified struggle against all bar the Boer folk. I feel this lacks the real intention of what the film was to be. That I would believe is to summarise a position of history for people to understand why what happened did and to provide a discourse on events. The Blood and Glory producers are motivated by an agenda certainly but they would have been more successful in fleshing out characters, instead of patriotic historical ideology and nationalist iconography.