It's the evening of June 5, 1944, when a small battalion of American soldiers hurtle out of a fiery cargo plane over the Normandy coast. It's an explosive opening sequence that introduces both "Overlord" and the vision of its director, Julius Avery, with quite a bang. These killer first five minutes signal we're in for a wild ride with this dark, intense and bloody take on World War II.
We're taken on the journey through the eyes of a nervous private named Boyce (Jovan Adepo). He's surrounded by your standard-issue war movie types. There's Ford (Wyatt Russell), a grizzled explosives expert. There's the fast-talking Tibbet (John Magaro), and swaggering Sgt. Rensin (Bokeem Woodbine), who informs the boys of their mission to take out a Nazi radio jammer on a tower so planes can guide American ships to victory on D-Day.
The GIs take over the home of a headstrong young French woman, Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), who is harboring her brother and sick aunt while enduing the affections of a Nazi commander (Pilou Asbæk). Although the mission is to take down the tower, it soon becomes clear there's far more horror going on — Avery has sprinkled references to classic monster movies — and our moral compass, Boyce, demands something be done about it.
It is significant that in this vision of revisionist revenge, the ones who prevail against the Nazis are those who would be marginalized and targeted by them. For all its bloody cacophony, "Overlord" doesn't lose sight of that.