Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
I’ve never been a fan of war movies. It’s nothing to do with the films themselves, but personally it feels to me like a romanticism of something that in the real world leaves no winners. I also find some of them heavily biased with one defined “good” defeating an always foreign “evil”.
This was usually the case with older war movies, the kind my Dad would always rave about and force me to sit through growing up. But as time has gone by, and we become more aware of the truths behind the propaganda, war movies have themselves evolved to show the humanity and real loss that’s suffered on both sides. And The Outpost does a wonderful job of carrying this trend forward, giving us the unvarnished truth of what it means to be a soldier forced to follow the orders of a bureaucracy that may not have your best intentions in mind, no matter what their advertisements might say.
I’ll admit, the first act of this movie drags, as it introduces us to the men based at an outpost in Afghanistan, that’s constantly attacked by Taliban (and possibly disgruntled locals).
You can tell the director was going for a sense of realism when it came to the way the soldiers spoke to each other and I’ll readily admit, while this is what we all know real group conversations sound like, it was a tad annoying. There’s a reason convos are shot differently on film. Multiple people talking at the same time is hard to follow as hell in a movie.
Now this outpost is very poorly situated and not easily defensible, something the soldiers and Sgt. Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood) is very aware of. I’ve never been a fan of Scott Eastwood. All the movies I’ve seen him in thus far, seem to focus on the fact he has his father’s good looks (Clint Eastwood in his prime was a hottie) and nothing more and he never pulled me into his performances. That is, until this movie where he comes across as all the good things that embody not just a good soldier and leader, but a good man.
That said, Eastwood is still outshined by the likes of Orlando Bloom when he’s onscreen, and then there’s the performance of Caleb Landry Jones as the “not well liked” Staff Sgt. Ty Carter. Tour de Force is a term that feels a bit bougie to me when describing an actor’s work, but Caleb’s performance is the only one that had me choked up by the end of this movie, and I honestly can’t think of a better term to describe it. Well done.
You may notice me using the names of the characters more than I usually do in my reviews here and that’s because these weren’t just made up people. They were real soldiers who fought in this true to life battle and I wanted to give them the respect they deserved. I may not agree with the war in Afghanistan but I 100% respect the men and women who put their lives on the line for each other.
For those fans of the genre who may find the first two acts slow, the final act is the stuff of legend when it comes to war films. Once the first attack hits it never lets up. I’m sitting in the comfort of my living room watching this and I couldn’t breathe! It’s not entertaining; it’s adrenaline pumping terror and it immersed me in these soldiers’ fight, in a way I haven’t felt since watching Tears of the Sun.
So while The Outpost may not be considered an epic tale of war the likes of A Thin Red Line or most recently 1917, the personal stories told by these actors, the real life look into the everyday lives of the soldiers represented, and the resulting real world effects it had on the military (shown at the end screen) drew me in, in a way none of these movies have before.
RIP to all those who have fallen in battle.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apoclaypse come.
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