Gallipoli is an Australian television miniseries, which originally aired on the Nine Network. The seven part series, which commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign, also tells the tale of that military campaign. The series follows Thomas Johnson (Kodi Smit-McPhee), or “Tolly”, who joins the army, after his brother, Bevan (Harry Greenwood), enlists. Unfortunately, the boys and countless others are thrown to the wolves, by those in higher positions.
When the brothers arrive on the shores of Gallipoli, they’re immediately tossed into the battle and fight alongside their longtime friends, Dave Klein (Sam Parsonson) and Cliff “Cliffy” Sutton (Tom Budge). An array of top Australian actors make an appearance, including James Callis, who plays Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, and Matt Nable, who stars as Sergeant Harry Perceval. The Aussies will be familiar with others including Anthony Hayes, Lincoln Lewis and James Stewart. Travis Jeffrey, who recently played in Unbroken, also makes an appearance.
Despite the chaotic action, which is superbly done, the acting is top notch. The grueling, gory battlefields are perfectly recreated to give a realistic look at the horror of war. There are actually several battles brewing throughout the series. Sir Ian Hamilton (John Bach) has the majority of the control and continues forcing soldiers to their deaths, while journalist, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (James Callis) attempts to make the public aware of the atrocities being committed at Gallipoli.
Despite being based on a one hundred year old war, Gallipoli teaches many lessons, which could translate to today. Sir Ian Hamilton is the epitome of the war hawk, who refuses to stop, regardless of who is hurt. When two likeminded egomaniacs butt heads, a Gallipoli situation is created, nothing is solved and precious lives, which have very little control over the situation, are lost.
Gallipoli feels legitimate and maintains its authenticity, despite having some interesting twists and turns, which lead up to the conclusion. Along the way, there are some joyous moments, a few triumphs, but mostly sorrow. As history unfolds, Ellis meets Keith Murdoch (Damon Gameau) and Gallipoli’s deaths become all for naught.
Whether you’re looking for a little action, history, or drama, Gallipoli is well worth a watch. I wouldn’t put it on the same level as ANZAC Girls, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’d give it a 7.5 out of 10. Just be advised that Gallipoli is ultimately bleak and depressing. The opening sequence is a work of art though!