The Outpost Movie Review : A brilliantly Executed War Drama
The Outpost Movie Story: It tells the true story of 53 American soldiers who fought against nearly 400 insurgents in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The Keating Combat Post, originally supposed to carry out community development projects with local residents, is constantly attacked by the Taliban. Soldiers deployed at the military base, only 22 kilometers from the Pakistani border, are in constant danger. When the decision was made to close the base, the Taliban learned of this and decided to have a final word on this.
The Outpost Movie Review: A nondescript outpost situated in a valley surrounded by three imposing mountains of Afghanistan was an easy target for Taliban militants. The contingent of American soldiers at the outpost knew this all too well and the terrorists used every opportunity to create trouble for the US Army. They launched regular attacks from their natural vantage point of being on the top of the mountains, but so far the attacks hadn’t been fatalistic. For American soldiers, this was an everyday occurrence and a local Afghani man named Mohammed (Sharif Dorani) helped the army negotiate with the locals and often warned them of the impending attacks too. But he would be often told off, saying he’s always crying wolf. Until one day, scores of Taliban militants wearing Pathanis and carrying assault rifles launch a diabolical attack on the outpost, leading to one of the bloodiest battles in the mountains. It was a battle that saw a small contingent of American soldiers valiantly fight the enemy with limited resources and heroes, who took down countless terrorists before they fell.
At the very outset, director Rod Lurie introduces us to a battery of his soldiers with their character names flashing on the screen. While it may seem daunting to remember so many names and titles, each character is so well etched into the narrative that no one feels left out in the larger picture. The camaraderie and the spurts of conflicts among the soldiers is effective and organically told. And so is the humane side of the American soldiers, as they are often shown stealing fleeting moments to connect with their loves ones back home amidst a very clear and present danger from the enemy. As far war films go, ‘The Outpost’ has one of the finest build ups and a lot of realism in the way each event is constructed under different captains.
Director Lurie puts his own experience as a military man and director of war-related TV shows to good use by serving up important flashpoints in an episodic format. Yet, he never disrupts the flow of the captivating screenplay from his Oscar winning team – Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy. While the film is based on Jake Tapper’s book with almost the same name, it’s the exceptional retelling of a real story that counts.
Cinematically, ‘The Outpost’ is a superior product that reflects strong writing, moving performances, immersive action and technical expertise in bringing to life, a bloody event from the recent history. There are lingering combat scenes, shot in a single take that lend urgency and thrill, keeping us on the edge. And it is also equally saddening that this is no fiction. Each and every bullet fired (and there are tons of it) reflects the real horrors of a war that eventually no one wins.
Lurie puts together a rich ensemble of prolific actors, who successfully depict the horrors of the battle of Kamdesh, both emotionally and physically. Apart from the film’s most popular face Orlando Bloom (Captain Benjamin D. Keating), it’s Scott Eastwood, Milo Gibson and Jack Kesy who leave a lasting impact. But it is Caleb Landry Jones’ relentless and power-packed performance conveyed largely through his expressive face and eyes that truly underlines the valiance and the savagery of this blood-soaked battle. One of the soldiers SPC Daniel Rodriguez from the battle plays himself, taking its realism to a whole new level.