The Outpost

I was discussing some films with one of my 7th grade literacy students and he brought up The Outpost, from Netflix. It was a film that I had never heard of before and so I thought I would look into it.

He had told me it was a war film that took place in Afghanistan. While I have never been a huge fan of war films, my student raved about the film. Typically, 7th graders’ film opinions do not match up with my own, but the info I found on The Outpost looked intriguing so I decided to place it on my queue.

Tonight, I found the time to watch the film, and he was right. It was a really tense and anxiety-filled film based on a true series of events that show just how devastating and horrific war can be.

The Outpost did not have a distinguished throughline of a narrative for the movie outside of the life in an outpost named Camp Keating, a camp situated in a valley, surrounded by mountains. The Taliban was all around them and made a regular occurrence of shooting at them. The Americans attempted to keep a peace by negotiating (and paying off) local village elders, but the trust between them was sketchy at best.

As we see a continual parade of new leaders at the camp, everyone was on edge. Eventually, the Taliban launched an attack on the camp and the soldiers desperately tried to survive.

While there was a strong cast, the characterization of the men involved was not the main focus of the film. Outside of the powerful performance of Caleb Landry Jones as SPC Ty Carter, many of the soldiers were surface level. The characters were not the main thrust of the film. It is to show the horrors of war and the danger that these men faced every day.

The film does just enough development to make these men relatable and keeps the audience rooting for them.

The action scenes in The Outpost was brutal and realistic. The fear and struggles of the soldiers was patently apparent as they were desperate to keep alive so they could return to their loved ones. While the film did not glorify the gore, it did not hide from it either. The brutality was essential to the story that was being told and each moment of violence had purpose.

Netflix has been having a solid year, which is great considering how down the national theaters have been because of the virus. Netflix has given us two of my top films of the year, Da 5 Bloods and The Trial of the Chicago 7, as well as excellent films as The Old Guard, the animated Over the Moon, Enola Holmes, Extraction, I’m Thinking of Ending Things and the horrifying documentary The Social Dilemma. While this could be considered a tough watch, The Outpost should be added to this successful list of films showing how the streaming service has taken the step to becoming a major player in movies.

4 stars

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