Men Go to Battle
Directed by Zachary Treitz
It’s not easy to make a convincing period piece. Show too much deference to the era and the characters risk speaking and acting stiffly, scared too straight by the threat of anachronisms. Be too casual, and it’s unconvincing in another way.
Men Go To Battle is one of the most quietly convincing period pictures imaginable, a Civil War-set drama that feels uncannily like something captured in the 1860s. Because this small-scale film feels so realistic, it feels epic, from its glimpses of battles to quiet scenes indoors, all of which seem entirely filmed with natural lighting.
Tim Morton and David Maloney star as brothers, and its unlikely the festival will offer two better performances. The characters are realized to the smallest degree, from the way they goof around to the various slights on their pride and courage. It’s easy to imagine some growing restless with the story, as it plays out more in body language and unspoken dialogue rather than conventional plot points, but for those who are on its wavelength, there may be no more quietly devastating film on hand.
Upcoming Tribeca Film festival screenings: Monday, April 20, 6:45pm; Wednesday, April 22, 9:30pm