The Red Baron is a film about Manfred von Richthofen, the most feared and celebrated pilot of the German air force in World War I. To him and his companions, air combats are events of sporty nature, technical challenge and honorable acting, ignoring the terrible extent of war. But after falling in love with the nurse Käte, Manfred realizes he is only used for propaganda means. Caught between his disgust for the war, and the responsibility for his fighter wing, von Richthofen sets out to fly again.
The Red Baron (2008) review
The film itself is not a flat action/history flick, it has a message to tell and that comes across really well. The relationship between the baron and his girl is told in a very subtle way, no cheesy romance-scenes. It all happens during WW1, there was simply no time for big emotions. So we don’t see a “Pearl Harbour” Hollywood flick, but a picture that shows how it really might have been – flying a plane during war. There are no clichés, just a portrait of a hero that did not even want to be one. And the cruelty and absurdity of war itself, as even the main protagonist has to learn. The ending is also well done and not cheesy or over the top. Apart from that the film did not really grab me, I enjoyed watching but was seldomly thrilled or emotionally moved. Maybe some of the characters were simply a little too flat. Also the film jumps at times and leaves out some interesting battle scenes, I had the impression they did it to keep the VFX work down…
Written and Director by: Nikolai Müllerschön
Stars: Matthias Schweighöfer, Lena Headey, Til Schweiger