By: John M Jerva REVIEW: THE OUTPOST STARRING: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Milo Gibson and Orlando Bloom DIRECTED BY: ROD LURIE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: In this military thriller, based on […]
By: John M Jerva
REVIEW: THE OUTPOST
STARRING: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Milo Gibson and Orlando Bloom
DIRECTED BY: ROD LURIE
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: In this military thriller, based on The New York Times best-selling non-fiction book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor from CNN’s Jake Tapper, a tiny unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating, located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battles to defend against an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack. The Battle of Kamdesh, as it was known, was the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghan War in 2009 and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.
The Review: Just like 12 Strong, the new war picture The Outpost tells a harrowing true life story about one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in the current war on terror and it could quite possibly be one of the best war films I have ever seen. The story of the Battle of COP Keating is a gripping and harrowing one that never flinches away from the brutality on screen and the cast do the servicemen who fought there proud by depicting them authentically and this is one film that has to be seen.
The Outpost opens up with a bang as we see Scott Eastwood’s character arrive at the base and he immediately discovers that the camp is in one of the worst places imaginable as it is literally surrounded by mountain on all sides. Each and every day, the soldiers are attacked without warning by Taliban forces who want nothing more than to see them dead and then these brave men have to turn around and try to befriend the exact same people who shot at them a day ago.
The film, which was helmed by real life serviceman Rod Lurie, takes viewers into the everyday life as these brave men who know that they are up against a rock and a hard place and any minute could be their last on Earth. One of the soldiers who was there describes the valley as both the gates of hell and heaven all at the same time and that perfectly sums up what these men had to face. The inevitable is coming as “The Big One” it is affectionately called where these handful of soldiers will have to defend their seemingly undefensable outpost in the middle of nowhere from hundreds of Taliban fighters.
The first hour is sprinkled with skirmashes but it is also filled with great scenes where the audience gets to know these men a little bit better which will payoff in the end as we will care what happens to them when everything goes awry. The dialogue, from a screenplay penned by Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy from a book written by Jake Tapper, shows us that these are just young men, kids no less, who are in a situation where death can happen in the blink of an eye. We get to see the comraderie between them and we understand why, when the shit hits the fan, that they will do anything and everything to protect the man standing beside them. It’s a true brotherhood and even though they fight like married couples, when it all comes down to it, they will sacrifice themselves in order to protect their own.
The cast led by Scott Eastwood, who is looking more and more like his famous father every time I see him in a movie, does a stellar job in representing the real life heroes who went to hell and back. Eastwood plays Staff Seargent Clint Romesha and from the get go, you know that he is a man that the others look up to. He is joined by Orlando Jones who plays a small role as First Lt. Benjamin Keating as well as Caleb Landry Jones. It’s Jones, who plays Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, who really steals every scene that he is in and I belive that his performance should win him one of those little golden statues that they give out every year. He is that good and I dare you to find a better performance in a film this year. Mel’s son Milo Gibson, who I loved in All The Devil’s Men is also present as Cpt. Robert Yllescas and even though he is only in it for a brief spell, he leaves an impact.
Like I said Lurie served in the military and it shows as the authenticity of the film is second to none and the cast really look the part of Army soldiers. Lurie is the perfect choice to helm the film as he would want nothing more than to do these brave men justice and show the world what true bravery is.
The last hour of the film is what everyone will be waiting for as the epic battle finally commences and from minute one, the audience is thrust right into the heat of battle as the explosions and bullets rain down like hellfire. The action is shot in a series of oners where there are no edits for a few minutes at a time and it really gives you the next best thing to really being there as you feel like you are literally running beside the soldiers as they defend their piece of dirt and each other. It is unfortunate that this film came out now because it was supposed to hit cinemas as well and this is the kind of film that big screens are made for. The battle sequences are really epic in scope and I would compare it to the opening of Saving Private Ryan but spread out over 45 plus minutes. It’s hard to watch at times but Lurie shows us what it was like to be in that unthinkable situation and it’s gut wrenching in many of its moments.
Films like this are important because even though they are supposed to entertain, they also make us think and really appreciate the freedoms that we have because of these brave men and women. To essentially give up your life to fight for your country is truly the ultimate sacrifice one can make and it takes a special breed to do it.
I won’t pretend that I would be able to understand what these true heroes have gone through but I have trained with many of them and have heard their stories. This is one of the most authentic interpretations of war and a soldier’s life in a war zone and when the credits roll, you will be left speechless. I know I was. One thing to remember is to watch the film through the end credits as Lurie adds interviews from the actual soldiers that fought in the Battle of Kamdesh and you can really tell that they are immensely affected by the experience. The ending is a powerful watch just like the rest of the film.
The Outpost, in my eyes, is one of the best movies to be released this year and it is definitely one of the best war films to be produced. It’s real, brutal and unforgiving in its message and audiences should take away something from it well after it’s over. Lurie, the cast and crew have really made something special here and it will go down as a true war classic. The Outpost should be mentioned in the same breath as Platoon, Saving Private Ryan and Blackhawk Down to name a few other classic war films. It leaves a lasting impression and shows us how truly awe inspiring these men and women truly are. Thank you for your service.
VERDICT: 5 Out of 5 Stars
ACTION-FLIX APPROVED AND ESSENTIAL
The Outpost is now available on Digital and VOD from Screen Media