Film Threat archive logo


By Mark Bell | April 10, 2013

Soldiers of Paint is a documentary that focuses on the annual D-Day paintball event in Oklahoma. People come from all over to recreate the battle of Normandy, complete with simulated beach landings, tank assaults and mobile command posts.

Lest you think this is some casual weekend warrior paintball fun, which it initially might be for most of the ground troops, the film shows how much attention is put into creating the battlefield, and how much planning the various commanders do in the months leading up to the event. The Allied forces, for example, hire a local pilot to fly over the battlefield and spot enemy troop movement and vehicles, while the German side engages in espionage to figure out what the Allied forces are planning.

Because this isn’t about just reenacting a battle; it’s a re-creation, and the outcome isn’t predetermined. If the Allied forces aren’t on their game, they could lose. The German side wants to win; not to glorify the Nazi regime or anything like that, but because it’s a battle, and everyone wants to give their all and come out victorious.

Thankfully the filmmakers took our potential for confusion into account, when it came to figuring out who is who on the battlefield, and gave the image a blue tint, when showing the Allied perspective, and a red tint for the German. The result is a quick visual shorthand to keep you on board with whatever is going on; which side is attempting to capture the flag or take an objective.

What is most impressive about the documentary is how it manages to turns a paintball event into a suspenseful war film. The second half of the film is pretty much the entire D-Day battle, and it’s an entertaining and intense experience. Since we don’t know how it is going to end, score watching is as exciting as at any sporting event.

I didn’t think the film could stay as engaging as it is for the full running time, but I was wrong. Since the first half is mainly setup for the battle, I just didn’t imagine the battle itself could fill out the whole second half and not get repetitious, but it more than does the job, even quickening the pace and racing by. Not to say the film is slow in the open, but there is definitely a gear shift when the fighting gets underway, as one could expect.

Overall, Soldiers of Paint was a fun documentary to experience. I didn’t know that D-Day could be respectfully transformed into a paintball event in Oklahoma, but it can, and it looks like it only gets better as each year goes by.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Gino says:

    Hello Film Threat,

    I usually do not voice my opinion on the film world . I mostly stick to culture, sexuality and philosophy, still I am a huge fan of films and I have seen the good , bad and the ugly through out the years.

    I do not know about you guys, but I am sick and tired of not just the remakes that are being vomited on the silver screen, but also the poorly talented cast in feature films….many Hollywood !

    They put together half talented actors which most Hollywood stars are. and put together a film with fast paced images and a heavy metal soundtrack. anything to get the audience pumped up !

    Whatever happened to actually telling a damn story ? I would rather sit in my apartment, or go to a run down theater and watch two hours of people discussing life in a philosophical manner. then to have to sit through more Hollywood garbage !

    There are performance artists,underground and independent film maker’s that have more talent and artistic vision then all the Hollywood talent put together in the last fifty years or more.

    Why is everyone such a zombie ? why are they afraid to watch a film that is not part of the mainstream film world ?

    And I do not want people to tell me they watch films from the IFC. they are not truly independent anymore. if you can afford to hire Hollywood actors and have a budget over a million dollars you should be banned from using the label independent period !

    It is bad enough we live in a sheepish society,that no longer values true art. which is mostly seen in some art galleries ,theaters, cafes and even some peoples apartments and homes that serve as a host to such film events

    This was just a rant of frustration, thank for letting me bitch a little bit guys.


Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon