What starts out as a standard-issue P.O.W. drama, with the requisite intrigue between prisoners and camp commanders, transforms halfway through into something moderately more interesting: a taut battle of wills between a prisoner (Luca Zingaretti) and a colonel (Roy Scheider), both mistakenly left behind after the camp’s closure in the waning days of World War II. Still, it’s not quite enough to save Georgio Serafini’s “The Good War” from a case of terminal mediocrity, making small-screen sales likeliest for this English-lingo Italian production, which opens in Italy next month under the title “Texas 46.”
Film’s setting — an American detention camp for captured Italian soldiers — is intriguing and, in depicting this little-known slice of WWII history, Serafini offers a decidedly different view of the conditions of such camps than last year’s upbeat docu “Prisoners in Paradise.” Both Zingaretti and Scheider (in the best part he’s had in years) deliver powerful turns, but pic only belatedly hits upon a subject of real interest — the ambiguity of wartime loyalties and how today’s enemy is often tomorrow’s ally. Though set in rural Texas, pic was lensed entirely in Bulgaria.