Guernica online movie review - Sincere Historical Drama is Incomplete, Slow-Paced, & Dry
The goal of the film was to put a human face on the tragedy of Guernica, the market town in Northern Spain that was destroyed by German bombers during the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately, the romantic narrative was far-fetched, and the dialogue was often strained in this labored, slow-paced drama.
The filmmakers were successful in conveying the complexity of the Spanish Civil War. The opposition of the fascist "loyalists" supporting Franco versus the "republicans," who were allied with Stalin, was well presented. But the film failed to convey the idealism of the Republicans. It was the passion of the Republicans to preserve their government against a military coup that captivated the world in the 1930s. Yet the passion was inexplicably missing in the film.
The main character was an American journalist named Howell, who was evidently modeled on the British writer George Steer who broke the story of the atrocities at Guernica. But Steer, along with other like-minded writers like Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell, also witnessed the passion of ordinary people resisting the forces of fascism in the 1930s. Where was the passion in this film?
The character of Teresa, who was a censor, was essential for demonstrating the uses of propaganda. But her character did not demonstrate to Howell why the cause of the Spanish Civil War was important in taking a stand against European fascism. The filmmakers seemed unaware of how important it was in the 1930s to resist another nation turning to fascism. That SHOULD have been the main focus of this drama.
In the final analysis, the romantic intrigue was not compelling or believable. And despite the beautiful photography of Northern Spain, the true soul of the nation was not captured in "Guernica."