The Outpost

Heroism as a collective action

In 2009 a small team of U.S. Army troops, many of them just boys, really, had to fight their way out of a place they never should have been sent to in the first place, an essentially indefensible outpost in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, besieged by a tsunami of Taliban attackers. The Battle of Kamdesh was one of the bloodiest in that ill-considered, endless war. 

Director Rod Lurie (The Contender), working from the bestselling book by CNN’s Jake Tapper, has fashioned a war movie that evolves from boilerplate guys-in-a-war-zone predictability into something far deeper and illuminating, admirably doing a lot with a small budget. And the excellent cast, including Scott Eastwood (son of Clint) and Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Get Out) makes it work.

The film loses points for lack of character development and a certain interchangeability among its players, which is ironic seeing that it’s based on a true story. Just not enough time in two hours. 

But it’s all setup for the final battle, a visceral, nerve-shattering ordeal of raw emotion and you-are-there ferocity that’s as good as any cinematic depiction of real battle as I’ve seen. Think the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan. Stay through the closing credits. (123 min)

The Outpost Japan release date: March 12, 2021 

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