It’s World War I, and a senior officer is rushing over the hillside, attempting to escape. A case of desertion, the officer, Oliver (Frank Ryan), doesn’t get too far before he is stopped by a younger soldier, Louis (David Anthony Thomas). Faced with the option of Oliver’s death or his return to war, Oliver and Louis begin to talk.
A short war drama, The Business of the Day gives an interesting twist; I wouldn’t have expected the older soldier to be the one deserting, and the younger one being the authority in the situation. Still, there’s a logic to it. Just because most war films seem to show soldiers becoming numb to it all, it would stand to reason that, at least at some point, some older soldier got beyond the numbness and landed beyond their ability to take it anymore.
If anything, I wish there were more to this story, as it presents a scenario far more than it presents an extensive story for any of the characters. I wanted to know more about why Oliver was moved to run away. I also wanted to see a less ambiguous resolution, and the score was a bit too dramatic for the events taking place onscreen. The music tended to overcompensate, simply.
The Business of the Day looks good and the performances are strong (even if Louis does little beyond stare at some points), and I guess it’s a good thing that my biggest criticism is that I wanted more to the story. With just a small glimpse of these characters, I’m already hooked and I hope there is a larger tale still to come, but if not, this is a capable effort by filmmaker David Anthony Thomas.
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