Stones for the Rampart AKA Kamienie na szaniec AKA The Battle for Warsaw
R2 - United Kingdom - Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (13th August 2015).
The Film

A trio of young friends are part of the Home Army in Poland during it’s occupation during World War Two. Their primary missions are all minor sabotage. They let off tear gas in cinemas that are showing Nazi propaganda films, they tear down Nazi flags from outside government buildings and replace them with the Polish flag, and they rob a drunk Nazi soldier with the aim of using the money they have stolen to buy weapons. The three friends, and the rest of their squadron, are robbing a house of Nazi sympathisers when they are discovered by German soldiers. During the ensuing shootout one of the friends is shot and killed. For Tadeusz (Marcel Sabat) this ups the stakes and he wants the Director of his group to give permission for more advanced attacks. The Director declines his suggestion. Then, one night, Tadeusz’s remaining friend in the Home Army, Rudy (Tomasz Zietek) and his Father, are taken by the SS into custody. Rudy is brutally beaten and tortured. They know that he has links in the Home Army, and suspect that he might even be their leader. Rudy withstands the torture and at the end of each day is taken to a hospital and patched up so that he may be beaten and torture again. Tadeusz sees this as an opportunity to ambush the truck carrying Rudy and give him back his freedom. At first Tadeusz is denied permission for the rescue but a couple of days later word comes back that Tadeusz and his team of men may attempt the daring rescue of Rudy.

Stones of the Rampart is based on a book by Aleksander Kaminski and Director Robert Glinski sticks closely to the details of the book. This film version is a poignant and brutal portrayal of life under the Nazi’s in Warsaw and rarely pulls it’s punches. The torture scenes are especially gruelling leaving the viewer to sit there and grit their teeth whilst Rudy’s are almost kicked from his mouth by the SS. All the characters are well portrayed and consequently the viewer really does care about their fate. Even the background characters in the Home Army are treated sympathetically so whilst they may not have any lines in the film we still care whether they live or die. There are some extremely touching moments in the film. Most notably when Rudy’s Mother comforts him with some black humour, Rudy’s Father telling him how proud of him he is whilst they languish in a prison cell, and watching Tadeusz’s Wife’s expression when he leaves the house on a mission knowing full well that it might be the last she sees of him. The film is spoken in Polish (with a few exceptions in German). Whilst I cannot understand any Polish I do have a smattering of German in my vocabulary, enough to know that the subtitles on screen are not exact translations. Whilst this does not distract too much from the film there are one or two moments where the subtitles do not seem to make a huge amount of sense. The subtitles cannot be removed so Polish viewers in the United Kingdom will just have to put up with them. The film is a very enjoyable drama and has given me a new found respect for those that fought in the Home Army in Poland. Their stories are just as important as those of the French Resistance and, dare I say it, some of the British heroic stories such as The Dam Busters. The story of those who fought, often without any weapons or training, in the Home Army deserves to be told and Director Robert Glinski has done a superb job in telling it.

Video

Presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 The picture has a slightly blue tinged to it but the colours are vibrant. When Rudy is getting tortured by the SS the colour and texture of his blood is some of the most realistic I have seen on film. As this is a modern film (first released in 2014) you would expect the picture to be flawless and it is presented here on DVD as such.

Audio

Viewers have two choices in which to listen to the film. Polish/German Dolby Digital 5.1 and Polish/German Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Whilst this is a dialogue heavy film there are occasions when the marching of feet or the ricocheting bullets whiz around the rear speakers to great effect. The sub woofer is only used once or twice, most notably in the attack on the truck to free Rudy. There are no HoH subtitles, just those on screen translating the Polish or German language into English. As mentioned earlier these cannot be turned off.

Extras

The only extra is a trailer for the main feature which runs for 1 minute and 45 seconds. There are also two trailers that play on disc start up and they are for; “No Man’s Land” (1.26) and “The Informant” (1.23).

Overall

A quality drama bringing to life the exciting and poignant story of the Polish Home Army. The acting throughout was exceptional with the story being treated with the reverence it deserves. It is a moving and stirring film and well worth watching. Recommended.







The Film: A Video: A Audio: A Extras: E Overall: A

 


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