First off, congratulations to Producer Tyler Levine, Director Leo Scherman, and the entire crew from Carousel Pictures for an unbelievable job on Trench 11, a film noir-esque movie about the final days of World War I, when “a shell-shocked soldier must lead a mission deep beneath the trenches to stop a German plot that could turn the tide of the war.”
Last night’s Canadian premiere, after stints at the Berlin Film Festival and a showing at Hollywood Boulevard’s legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theater last week, was amazingness on a scale worthy of TIFF in September.
Second, I love war films, and this one has now entered my pantheon of must-sees, notably about a war that will receive less and less attention now that all the vets are officially dead from what people once called “the War to End All Wars.” Trench 11 has the claustrophobic cinematography of Cube (1997) mixed in with the wartime multinational, ragtag team feel of Purple Sunset (2001), but shot in a gritty, in-your-face style.
Third, Rossif Sutherland did a fantastic job as our unsung Canadian hero with the beautiful French woman (Karine Vanesse) to make it out alive for when the sauerkraut really hits the trench fans. That one quasi-still frame of Vanesse towards the end was the moneyshot for Sherman, who evoked memories of Ridley Scott pulling at heartstrings with a similar technique in Gladiator.
Fourth, interesting things I learned from the movie: Winnipeg is more romantic than Paris; German food sucks; Brits will drink tea on the battlefield even when in the thick of it; death by tapeworm infestation looks painful, especially when they pop out through your eyes.
Finally, many thanks to Katelyn Cursio for arranging the tickets in advance, Carousel Pix for throwing cool pre-/post-parties, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (@TADFilmFest), and Scotiabank Theatre Toronto.