New Movies: Vaudeville of the Absurd

Like an inverted pyramid, all pacifist literature rests upon a single point: as W. H. Auden put it, "We must love one another or die." In How I Won the War, Director Richard Lestersharpens the point pictorially but blunts it philosophically by focusing on a platoon of World War II tommies hellbent on a suicide mission—building an officers' cricket field behind enemy lines in North Africa.

The story is told in film language every bit as wild as the chase itself. Time is a liquid, flowing back and forth. One second is the future,...

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