Title – The Forgotten Battle (2020)
Director – Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (The Thing)
Cast – Gijs Blom, Jamie Flatters, Susan Radder, Tom Felton
Plot – The World War 2 Battle of the Schelde is examined across three separate storylines as three young people from different wakes of life fight for their freedom and lives.
“Their choices differ, their goal is the same: freedom”
Review by Eddie on 09/11/2021
One of the most expensive Dutch films ever produced and streaming kingpin Netflix’s first originally produced film from the Netherlands, The Forgotten Battle is the perfect type of film for the company to support as well as being one of the most well put together war films in their catalogue.
Directed by native Dutchman Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (whose dabbled in Hollywood efforts like the The Thing), Battle tells the story of the not overly well-known World War 2 battle of Schelde in which allied forces took it to a bare-bones but determined Nazi army that was hellbent on stopping the allied march across Europe capturing ports and cities on their way into the Nazi occupied heartlands.
Splitting the film up into three separate stories that all combine into one cohesive narrative structure, Battle follows Gijs Blom’s young Dutch German soldier Marinus who has been sent back to his home country to take part in the fight, Jamie Flatter’s newbie British pilot William who has along with his squad been shot down over enemy lines and battling to get back to allied forces and Susan Radder’s Walcheren Island native Teuntje who is trying her best to rescue her brother from the clutches of Nazi soldiers.
Offering a wide ranging scope by telling his story this way, Heijningen Jr’s film isn’t your typical war film that is all battles and brothers and while it has plenty of in your face battlefront carnage and cat and mouse games of life and death, the film provides a neatly observed different lens on the World War 2 front with it far removed from the more Hollywoodized war films that can find themselves front and centre in the genre on regular occasions.
Working with a budget that while significant is still merely catering for big time productions, Heijningen Jr wrings every last dollar out of his films coffers to ensure that Battle feels like a more prestigious than usual Netflix mid-tier release and while it may not offer the big emotional pay-offs or gravitas to make it a must-watch, Battle showcases to viewers and to Netflix as a company the exact type of films it should be investing in when its not throwing 100’s of millions of dollars at releases like The Irishman, 6 Underground and the upcoming Red Notice.
Far from a classic World War 2 tale, battle is still high quality war time drama that offers a firsthand look at a largely unspoken about component of the Market Garden operation.
Final Say –
The Forgotten Battle is an above average Netflix release that has rightfully proved to be a decent sized hit for the streaming company and should be sought after by anyone seeking out a quality World War 2 offering (or a chance to see Draco Malfoy battle Nazis).
3 1/2 biscuit tins out of 5