a couple of things from the outset, no this is not the Walter Hill gang
movie (1978) and yes I realise it’s not a film in the strictest
sense of the word, I’ll explain…
two part drama (run time over 3 hours) is surely one of the finest explorations
of the horrors of war…ever. Put simply it you’re a war buff
and you’ve never seen this movie – you’ve somehow
never had clotted cream and strawberyy jam on a scone. Enough preamble
– it’s just too important NOT to be on the site…and
so here it is.
film depicts the lives of a company (maybe that’s squadron) of
British soldiers on UN duty in former Yugoslavia. We get some back story
of their lives in the UK but very quickly we find ourselves on the front
line somewhere near Vitez.
going into too many plot points it follows the experiences of two officers
Lt. Neil Loughrey (Damian Lewis) and Lt. John Feeley (Ioan Gruffudd)
and a few of their soldiers Pvt. Alan James (Matthew MacFadyen) and
Sgt. Andre Sochanik (Cal Macaninch). It is clear that the British are
there to do best and protect the local civilians where they can –
however this process is made much harder by the UN mandate and the diplocrats;
there to enforce neutrality.
premise is that if the Brits move people around it’s considered
the ethnic cleansing of areas – even if the civilians are going
to be killed. This sets the scene for one of the most relentless movies
I’ve seen. We are regularly faced with scenes of hopelessness,
frustration and desperation that the troops have to go through (not
least the effect on the indigenous population.
this movie differs from many others is that it doesn’t need to
show blood/gore or graphic depictions of rape to be horrific –
it is the situation that is horrific. We come to it with our sensibilities
of right and wrong / chaos and order and we end up screaming at the
screen ‘DO SOMETHING’ and yet we know they cannot. Perhaps
what is most disturbing about the film is that it is based on true events
and so as you watch it with increasing disgust at the UN and the seemingly
pointless mandate. Mr Langrubber and a few middle level British officers
are the ones you’ll end up cursing at.