Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, William Fichtner
THE PLOT – The True Story of the Army’s Special Forces “Green Berets”, who within weeks responded to the 9-11 attack. Green Berets and AFSOC took over the country and allowed other Special Forces and the rest of the conventional military to begin the more publicly visible war.
Rated R for war violence and adult language throughout
– An impressive introduction sequence that is articulately narrated and edited through the days after America’s darkest hours. This history lesson paints a vivid reality of the eggshells that we as a country were walking on.
– Exceptional camera angles that replicate a soldier’s point-of-view faithfully, through tight and over the back view points. This puts the audience in the moment without it being a gimmick like POV.
– Action sequences while limited, are shot competently enough, with shreds of urgency that trigger the uneasy from the audience watching from beyond the screen.
– Speaking of action, the final twenty minutes pack a vibrating crescendo that never stops pumping. These sequences are so finely paced, and never run short of visual thrills.
– The weaponry and combat versatility compliments a dual blend of traditional (Horseback strikes) and modern (Automatic arms) that superbly bridges the generations of war. We’re so used to seeing tanks and airstrikes that we rarely ever think about the countries who strike by horse.
– Fuglsig’s film never aims to be anything bigger that it rightfully is. While this is a brave and harrowing tale in the war against terror, the film reminds us that it is only the first chapter in a bigger war.
– There’s too much talk and not enough action during the first half of the film. This is when the movie dragged the most for me, and felt the demands of a 125 minute runtime.
– There’s an attempt to understand the villain’s perspective, but it’s every single Taliban antagonist that CNN has ever painted for you. There’s nothing that makes them standout in a poignant approach.
– This film needs so desperately for someone to take the reigns as a reputable performance, but the underwritting of personality in this script disappointingly wastes what is an early favorite for best ensemble cast of 2018. There’s ultimately no diversity in this brotherhood, so many of the characters rub together without breaking free from their shackles of ambiguity.
– The second half of the film is definitely much more impactful, but it comes at the price of abandoning character exposition. Beyond even the soldiers, Hemsworth’s wife and kids are never brought back up again after the opening ten minutes, leaving behind a chance to finally capitalize on a soldier’s price paid back home that very few war films capitalize on.