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March with the Devil2014

Confessions of a French Foreign Legionnaire

  • 3.5
The final directorial effort of late producer, director and screenwriter Zalman King, this deeply atmospheric 75 minute documentary (subtitled "Confessions of a French Foreign Legionnaire") proves a riveting portrait of Dominiquie Vandenberg, a professional soldier–turned–Zen Buddhist whom Martin Scorsese praises as "a natural talent that was born in blood." A world-class martial artist while still in his teens, Vandenberg's stunning accomplishments in the realms of physical training and military combat are the flip-side of a painful past of an unlikely warrior. In this extended interview, King develops Vandenberg's immediately intriguing, soon harrowing story with a montage of artful portraiture, set to a melancholic score overlaid with the solitary voice of the film's subdued yet intense subject. The film casts an almost hypnotic spell as Vandenberg recounts a years-long journey through extremely punishing training, hellish war-torn landscapes in Africa and the Balkans and a personal battle with demons, memory and a deeply alienated life. While the film pays homage to the fortitude of the soldier, Vandenberg's career suggests true heroism lies in the courage to transcend violence. - Robert Avila

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