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“THE OUTPOST” Cringing and Heroic


Review by John Delia

“In 2006, the US Army established a series of outposts in Northern Afghanistan to promote counterinsurgency. The intent was to connect with the locals and to stop the flow of weapons and Taliban fighters from Pakistan. One of these was PRT Kamdesh. It was built in a remote valley completely surrounded by The Hindu Kush Mountains. One analyst said it may as well be called “Camp Custer”. His reasoning was simple and official.” – Filmmaker

Just making a statement that a film is based on a true story is one thing, but when it’s verified, you see a movie a bit differently. The screenplay’s shocking battle and the helplessness of the US Army fighters depicted in the movie The Outpost, is absolutely cringing. But, that word isn’t even a strong enough word for it. This film shows the ability and tactfulness of our military under fire, but more so, the heroism.

Caleb Landry Jones in The Outpost photo courtesy of Screen Media

The fierce battle that took place at Kamdesh, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009 against the 400 Taliban with needed to be shown and recognized for the heroism. It’s more than that, it’s an eye opener and a sort of wake-up to what our armed forces are dealing with in that country.

The film opens with Combat Outpost Keating going about their everyday tasks that include dealing with officials of the local villages nearby. There’s always a sniper or two to contend with and the occasional local begging for sweets. CPT. Benjamin Keating (Orlando Bloom) commands the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). He reports to his higher ups daily and deals with situations as they crop up.

A scene from THE OUTPOST courtesy of Screen media

Director Rod Lurie takes you through the daily lives of each of the main characters as they deal with their duties. He inserts the dealing with the local officials and even a couple of odd incidents that look like warning signs. Just as you think things are normal as usual he gives the viewer a taste of what can happen badly. Then he turns up the heat with the US Army Forces being trapped at the basin of the surrounding mountains and 400 Taliban fighters appearing on the ridge. Relentless beyond belief, the filmmakers hold back nothing for the viewer so be prepared when the invasion begins.

Most people burry their head when it comes to the fighting in Afghanistan since the war has been going on for so long. But, just about a little over one year earlier to the battle depicted in The Outpost there was an attack on another US Post at the battle of Wanat in Afghanistan. It was just 20 miles away from Kamdesh and our US Army troops held off an attack by 200 Taliban insurgents. It took the Kamdesh fight depicted in this film to finally pull our troops out of the area.

Orlando Bloom, Cory Hardrict, Jacob Scipio, Bobby Lockwood, Alexander Arnold, Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, James Jagger, Celina Sinden, Jack Kesy, Taylor John Smith, and Milo Gibson in THE OUTPOST from Screen Media

The whole cast does a courageous job of making the film look real. Acting out the heroic incident must have been a tough job, but the long list of pros that included Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious), Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out), Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean), Jack Kesy (12 Strong), and Milo Gibson (Hacksa Ridge) were certainly on the best game.

What makes the film extra special to me was the appearance of Daniel Rodriguez who plays himself in the film. Knowing that this production had someone who experienced the shocking battle first hand, makes The Outpost even more astounding. A tip of the hat also to the sound, special effects and makeup for their part in bringing realism to the film.

A scene from THE OUTPOST courtesy of Screen media

The Outpost has been rated R for war violence and grisly images, pervasive language, and sexual references. The film is available in select theaters (check local listings to find a theater near you) and Video on Demand from various platforms.

FINAL ANALISIS: The film deserves the highest accolades. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom, Jack Kesy, Taylor John Smith, Milo Gibson, Daniel Rodriguez
Directed by: Rod Lurie (The Contender)
Genre: Drama, History, War
MPAA Rating: R for war violence and grisly images, pervasive language, and sexual references
Running Time: 2 hrs. 3 min.
Opening Date: July 3, 2020
Distributed by: Screen Media
Released in: Select Theaters and VOD

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