Review: ‘Midway’ A Compelling Retelling of WWII Battle

Midway may walk well-traveled territory by telling the story of the battle that turned the tide in the Pacific Theater during World War II, but the character development helped it stand out from the pack for me.

The movie, which begins shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, tells the story of the war through the experiences of leaders like Lt. Commander Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson), who helped predict crucial details about the attack at Midway with a group of decoders, Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), who takes over as commander in chief over Pacific Ocean areas after Pearl Harbor, as well as soldiers, and Dick Best (Ed Skrein), a pilot and squadron commander who was a central figure in the battle.

Seeing the crew go through the attack on Pearl Harbor and characters like Best lose friends during that attack helped develop the characters fully and made me care more about whether his plane would make it back after the battle of Midway than I might have otherwise.

Movies based on battles aren’t usually top of my list of movies to watch, but I found myself on the edge of my seat at the screening at the Angelika waiting to see what happened to Best’s plane.

I also have to say the cinematography, particularly for the dive bomber runs, was great and helped to build suspense.

I had the opportunity to interview Skrein and Luke Kleintank, who played Lt. Clarence Dickinson, while they were in Dallas to promote the movie and enjoyed hearing about their exploits in the process, such as visiting the Pentagon or veterans of the actual battle.

Skrein made sure to add that he felt a sense of responsibility in taking on the role of Best.

So if you’re interested in World War II or just like a good action movie, Midway is worth a watch. 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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