War/Military PG Running time: 1:57
IMDB rating: 6.8 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English, French, Spanish; Subtitles: English, Spanish; Audio: DD Stereo
There's no mistaking the 1968 mood of Play Dirty: this cynical war movie could only have been made during the disillusioned Vietnam era, despite its WWII subject. Michael Caine plays a British captain in North Africa, tapped to lead a suicidal mission across the desert to destroy a German fuel depot. He's got a scurvy band of mercenaries to help him (this was a year after The Dirty Dozen, so keep that in mind), although most of the time they seem indifferent to both the job and Caine's survival. Nigel Davenport plays Caine's black-hearted yet lethally competent assistant, possibly the most nihilistic character on the side of the good guys in any war movie. Large patches of the film play without dialogue, including a grueling sequence in which vehicles are winched up the side of a hill, but somehow this adds to the grim, fatalistic atmosphere. The hard edge suits the style of director Andre De Toth, veteran maker of many a B-picture (this was his next-to-last effort). Caine plays it repressed and close to the vest, the better to contrast with Davenport's Mephistophelian soldier of fortune. Oh, and the ending--well, you'll want to stick around for the ending. It was 1968, after all.