Powerless war drama, barely saved by two established actors and a newcomer.
The Second World War is coming to an end and the Americans are blowing the last remnants of Germans out of the French port city of Saint-Malo. Broadcasting is strictly prohibited, but on her uncle Etienne’s radio the blind girl Marie-Laure secretly recites a passage from a book by Jules Verne every day. It becomes clear that it is not just about reading aloud when Etienne explains the real reason and the dangerous game about principles and patriotism begins.
The promotion of All the Light We Cannot See suggests a moving story set in the Second World War, which is something of a caliber The Book Thief makes one expect. Unfortunately, the setting is almost the only similarity between the two war sketches, because All the Light We Cannot See feels like a romance novel that could have taken place in any time period. Inexplicable, but it doesn’t affect you.
The spoiled viewer will probably be distracted by the uneven acting. There are excellent performances by Hugh Laurie, Mark Ruffalo and Aria Maria Loberti (who also goes through life blind outside the cameras), but Lars Eidinger’s performance is worth crying over. As an embarrassing copy of Herr Flick, he makes every scene an echo of ‘Allo ‘Allo!, without standing up as a credible enemy. Very poorly cast, not enough depth.
Fortunately, there is little to criticize visually about the production. Saint-Malo is picturesque and the atmospheric images are generous in their splendor. The many great action moments full of thoughtful details make you feel like you are watching the eleventh episode of Band of Brothers you sat down. As soon as a bomb hits, you automatically sympathize with the residents of the occupied city. In that light, it is strange that the actors did not put a French twist on their accent for the show, but even spoke with a heavily British accent. Confusing, but not disruptive to the whole.
The need to adapt Anthony Doerr’s book of the same name as a four-part series never becomes clear, because nicely put together this story would probably look much better as a film. Nevertheless, it is All the Light We Cannot See Definitely not a bad series, but one for which anyone interested in this genre should temper their expectations. However, those who can forgive the aforementioned defects will see a moving love story full of dedication and hope with heartbreaking twists that push the heart to its limits. But also the fact that even war cannot break everything.
All the Light We Cannot See can be seen on Netflix.