Kate Connor and Eric Stoltz in "Fort Mccoy."
I’ve always been fascinated by WWII and was really looking forward to “Fort McCoy,” directed by Kate Connor and Michael Worth, which will play at the Sonoma International Film Festival. The movie offers a new view on WWII, taking audiences inside life of a POW camp in Wisconsin. While it offers an interesting concept, filled with strong performances, the film ultimately suffers from its slow pacing.
Frank Stirn, played excellently by Eric Stoltz who also produced the film, is a barber in 1944 who cannot join the military due to a heart murmur. Desperately seeking a way to still serve his country, he moves his family to Fort McCoy, a POW camp that is home to thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers. The strongly character driven film offers a snapshot of daily life on the base, where the prisoners seem to run freely as they are consistently wandering into the Stirn’s home, panicking Frank’s wife and children. It tackles social issues of the time, like when Frank’s 18-year-old sister-in-law falls for a Jewish soldier, which at the time was probably a big deal but in today’s equality-focused world seems less significant. Much more interesting was seeing how the Japanese, German and American soldiers had to work to occupy the same small area.
For the vintage clothing lover in me, I found the costumes and sets endlessly beautiful. The attention to detail is stellar, making it a rich visual experience.
This is not an “edge of your seat” type of movie, but if you enjoy historical dramas it’s definitely worth a watch.
Find tickets, show times and more details at www.sonomafilmfest.org.
When not writing for the Index-Tribune, Emily Charrier-Botts is most often found watching movies. She has been creating her own movies since she was in high school and briefly flirted with the idea of film school before realizing L.A. was not her scene. She settled on a minor in film and a career that involves watching movies.