Movie Review: Chosin

CHOSIN This year marks the 60th anniversary of North Korea's invasion of South Korea, an event that caught the United States and its allies off guard. Although the U.S. ultimately prevailed over the Soviet-backed North Koreans and their Chinese allies, the first year in this three-year war was something of a death march for American soldiers, particularly in the brutal Chosin Reservoir campaign. In this superb documentary, first-time filmmaker Brian Iglesias and co-producer Anton Sattler, both recently retired Marines and Iraq War vets, ask a handful of U.S. soldiers to relate the war stories no historian has ever asked them to tell — of being surrounded, literally, by unrelenting Chinese soldiers in mountainous terrain with temperatures 20 degrees below zero; of having to play dead atop a heaped pile of slain comrades; of having to use the dead body of a buddy as a sandbag when bullets fly; and, in one astonishing tale, of being wounded and immobile inside a truck that's being set ablaze by the enemy. Miraculous, cinematically dramatic escapes abound in these stories, but there's no triumph in the eyes of the tellers — only guilt, remorse and pain. For these men, 60 years ago might as well be yesterday. (Chuck Wilson) (Sunset 5)

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