The Red Baron (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner03/09/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Beautifully shot drama with solid performances and impressive aerial dogfight sequences, but the plot is surprisingly dull and it's hard to engage with the characters.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nikolai Mullerschon, The Red Baron is a German drama (though filmed in English, with English-speaking actors) about WWI flying ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighofer), aka The Red Baron. With his brightly painted red Fokker aircraft, the 24-year-old Richthofen becomes a national hero, famous the world over for his success in aerial dogfights.

However, von Richthofen gradually comes to resent his role in the German propaganda machine, particularly when he falls in love with the beautiful nurse Kate (Lena Headey) and realises that there's more to war than a running tally of downed enemies. Meanwhile, von Richthofen also finds himself clashing with both his ambitious, patriotic brother Lothar (Volkar Bruch) and his sworn enemy, Allied Forces' Canadian pilot, Captain Roy Brown (Joseph Fiennes).

The Good
The film is beautifully shot, with striking cinematography by Klaus Merkel and several impressively staged aerial dogfight sequences. The production design work is equally good, with special attention paid to the planes themselves.

Schweighofer is fine in the lead and there's decent support from Bruch and Headey, as well as Til Schweiger, Maxim Mehmet and Hanno Koffler as von Richthofen's fellow officers. However, Fiennes is a little wooden.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that, despite a plot that is seemingly tailor-made for emotional drama, it remains distinctly uninvolving and it's impossible to really care about any of the characters. This is largely down to an extremely dull script that doesn't really give the actors anything to work with, but it doesn't help that there's no real chemistry between Schweighofer and Headey.

It's fair to say, then, that Mullerschon is much better at directing action scenes and dogfight sequences than the emotional conflict down on the ground and the film is extremely patchy as a result.

Worth seeing?
The Red Baron is impressively shot and has some great dogfight sequences but it's badly let down by a dull script and fails to engage on an emotional level.

Film Trailer

The Red Baron (12A)
Be the first to review The Red Baron...
image
01 20,000 Days on Earth (15)

Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Warren Ellis, Ray Winsto...

image
02 Guardians of the Galaxy (tbc)

Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel

image
03 I Am Divine (15)

Ricki Lake, John Waters, Divine

image
04 Pudsey The Dog: The Movie (U)

David Walliams, Olivia Colman

image
05 Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Chris Leveaux...

Content updated: 24/07/2014 16:19

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire stars as a young woman disillusioned with the new world of work and the lack of Mr Right in her life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.