Not only is Five Came Back’s any cinephile’s dream docu-series, its also every historians dream show, the perfect show for every dad sitting on his couch looking for something to watch, Five Came Back is an amazing documentary series for the people that pronounces the true power of cinema. Narrated to perfection by the one and only Meryl Streep, Five Came Back interviews five cinematic revolutionaries as they reflect on the work of the five cinematic legends that embraced the dominance they had over the medium of film and wielded it for good during the most dire event known to man, WWII.
Obviously as a fan of film, you’re going to enjoy this exponentially more than your average Joe, but putting that aside, Five Came Back is a riveting and fascinating look at history. Niftily packed into three segments, each one concentrated on a main theme that is built upon with each episode, Five Came Back is absorbing in the same way you can’t put a good book down. The constant build I mentioned also glues your eyes to the screen because by the time we get to the finale your mind is flooded with the genius of Five Came Back that Bouzereau and Harris carefully constructed. The documentary can be taken as a simply awesome history lesson, but what it really has in mind is denoting how powerful of an artistic medium film can be. And the only way film could achieve such fantastic potential would be in the hands of cinematic giants, the very giants this documentary revolves around.
Speaking about this legendary filmmakers, the way the film presents them isn’t in this kitschy way that paints them as these Hollywood superstars but instead, Harris and Bouzereau intelligently humanize each of our five cinematic icons. They decide to lower them from their pedestal so we can understand why they were placed on that pedestal. Five Came Back doesn’t shy away from the failures these men endured when they decided to embark on this mission, depicting vulnerable moments and the way they each reacted to the war once they came back. Harris and Bouzereau allow us to relate to these men as humans instead of simply presenting them as undecipherable Hollywood titans.
Simply put, Five Came Back is awesome. From a historical and cinematic view, Five Came Back is an excellent documentary and as a human being its not just an excellent piece of filmmaking, but a meaningful and powerful statement about war and the role artistic mediums play into it. I applaud everyone who came together to make this and can’t recommend this series enough.