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Fort McCoy – Variety review

A new review of Fort McCoy showed up on Variety’s site yesterday. You can read it here.

An old-fashioned, appealingly sentimental drama about homefront life during WWII, “Fort McCoy” could resonate with older ticketbuyers during limited runs in carefully targeted theatrical engagements. It’s clearly a labor of love for scripter, co-director and co-star Kate Connor, who based her screenplay on real-life events involving her mother and grandparents. But this handsomely crafted indie likely won’t reach far below the 40-plus demographic until it launches homevid and cable campaigns.

Pic begins in May 1944, as German-American barber Frank Stirn (Eric Stoltz) arrives with his family at the eponymous Wisconsin military base to do his bit for the war effort. Specifically, Frank volunteers to provide tonsorial services for G.I.’s stationed at Fort McCoy — and for German and Japanese prisoners of war held on the camp grounds. (…)

Connor and co-director Michael Worth allow “Fort McCoy” to proceed at an unhurried pace, giving Stoltz ample opportunity to subtly convey undercurrents of guilt and anger percolating beneath his character’s affable exterior. Frank was classified 4-F because of a heart murmur, and the pic periodically hints that he may feel less like a man because of his lucky break. (…)

Tech values, including Neil Lisk’s attractive lensing and Dana Niu’s lush musical score, notably enhance the overall period flavor. It also helps that pic was partially filmed in preserved barracks and buildings at the actual Fort McCoy, which remains operational as a U.S. military base.

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