Paul Gross was probably most well-known for the TV series Due South in the mid-1990s before he directed and stared in the curling comedy Men with Brooms in 2002. That film was known for a marketing campaign that attempted to have the film compete with the Hollywood films that dominated Canadian theatres.
Passchendaele, Gross’ second film, received a similar campaign, with the trailer being shown before other films distributed by, Canadian film studio, Alliance. This film also had a less niche subject matter and it was the film to open this year’s Toronto Film Festival.
The film is more or less divided into two halves. The first part of the film follows and injured soldier (played by Gross) in Calgary as he develops the romance with a nurse. The second part deals with him returning to the World War I battlefield to protect the nurse’s brother during the “Battle of Passchendaele.”
I thought the film was quite good and it doesn’t drag like most war films do (the entire film is just under two hours). It probably helps that, overall, the film is a more a romance than a straight up war film, with the battle only taking up about 45 minutes of screen time.
Overall, I thought Passchendaele was a very good film and would probably be the one that gets Paul Gross noticed as a filmmaker.