Earlier today I posted a flattering Sean Penn quote about The Hurt Locker. He called it one of the all-time great war films, comparable only to Elem Klimov‘s Come and See, a1985 Russian film, and Hal Ashby‘s Coming Home (1978). In response to this a director friend wrote the following:

“I don’t know if it’s fair to categorize Coming Home as a war film,” he began, “but Elam Klimov‘s Come and See most certainly is. Furthermore Penn’s assertion that it’s one of the greatest of that genre is precise and fair. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the final hour of the film, much of it a second-by-second depiction of an atrocity in a Belarusian village, may be the finest filmmaking in the history of the art.

“Anybody who has devoted any study to Operation Barbarossa and is aware of the behavior both of the Einsatzgruppen and the partisans who fought them will tell you that it is about an accurate a depiction of these events as is possible. The ending of the film is magical. The title of this film (it was once called Kill Hitler) comes from the Book of Revelations, and the film has interesting Christian undertones throughout. Bizarre, since the film was the product of an atheist regime.

“Have you seen it? If not, you should hang your head in shame. It is mandatory viewing for anybody calling themselves a film scholar of any kind.”

No, I haven’t seen it. I will soon enough. I obviously have Penn to thank.