Dark Blue World: Jiri Hanzl
Owen Gleiberman
January 16, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Dark Blue World

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
115 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/28/01
performer
Tara Fitzgerald, Krystof Hadek, Ondrej Vetchy
director
Jan Sverák
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Zdenek Sverak
genre
Drama, War

We gave it a C

Does the world really need another painstakingly old-fashioned World War II saga? Dark Blue World, directed by the sappy Czech journeyman Jan Sverak (Kolya), has the distinction of being photographed in lovely saturated colors and of holding about as much dramatic interest as ”Pearl Harbor” minus the attack sequence. Sverak’s film is built around an even blander love triangle. On an RAF base, where the Czechs have arrived to help fight in the British air war, Franta (Ondrej Vetchy), an experienced flyer, trains the young, fresh-faced Karel (Krystof Hadek) in how to be a fighter pilot; the two end up in a rivalry over a delicate, lonely Brit (Tara Fitzgerald). The aerial-dogfight scenes, which are beautiful and shot through with jittery panic, are notable for not being staged for videogame kicks. When a plane gets hit, the audience feels the sting of death, a sting that would burn even more if we had a modicum of investment in anyone on screen.

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