We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Captured by German troops during the Battle of the Bulge, four GIs escape a POW massacre and seek refuge in the Belgian forest. There they meet a British airman—named Oberon Winley, no less—who parachuted from a disabled plane. Winley (Kirby Heybourne) tells the Yanks he has urgent information about the Germans’ attack plans, which means Sgt. Gunderson (Peter Holden) must change his plan from simply staying alive behind enemy lines to reaching an American position with Winley’s news. Kendrick (Larry Bagby) and the medic, Gould (Alex Niver), seem capable of making the trek, but everyone except Gunderson has doubts about the devout Mormon sharpshooter called Deacon (Corbin Allred): The jumpy corporal hasn’t been able to sleep since a nasty incident that claimed the lives of some civilians, and seems ready to crack the very next time producer-director Ryan Little flashes back to the episode. A snowy chamber piece for mismatched grunts, Saints and Soldiers recalls dozens of World War II flicks, mostly vintage ones. (Though one battle sequence with fast pans suggests that Little has seen some more recent examples.) Matt Whitaker and Geoffrey Panos’ script assembles the customary lineup of soldiers from all over—in this case, New York, Illinois, Arizona, and Louisiana—and the usual snotty Brit. The differences between this film and its myriad predecessors come down mainly to Deacon, whose religion becomes the crux of the story. Formerly a missionary in Germany, Deacon speaks the enemy’s language, which proves useful. But he also believes that the Germans—well, some of them—are good Christians just like him, a sentiment that isn’t well received by his cohorts, especially the unreligious Gould. Saints and Soldiers claims to be a film based on actual events, but it’s actually a Mormon tract: The central relationship is between the man who has a Bible in his pocket and the one who doesn’t. Little may have found faith in a war that cost millions of people their lives, but his sermon is no more convincing than an Englishman called Oberon Winley.—Mark Jenkins