Here's the short description from the press screening schedule:
The experienced Bravo bomb squad has 38 days left on its tour of duty in a war-torn city. Enter swaggering cowboy James, whose reckless methods cause them to fear they will not make it to day 39. A gripping thriller that ratchets up the tension from the very first scene.This simple description is one of the most accurate short blurbs I've seen in a while. It's completely accurate as there's rarely a moment not either filled with tension - or about to lead into more. And I mean that in the best possible way - the filmmaker does a great job building up tension in a completely realistic and smooth way. The description doesn't quite do justice to the quality of the work both in how it's filmed and the performances. If you only see one Iraq war movie (and it seems that most people won't even see that many judging by theatrical success) this is good choice. It's not really a fun topic, but the movie does a great job pulling you into the film as if it's just about the action, while giving you something to think about the characters themselves. It may leave you a little exhausted - but the time (a bit over 2 hours) just flew by. Mix it in with a double feature with something slower and you should have a great day out at the movies.
It's not all unrelenting stress. There is some entertaining dialog mixed in for realism/comedic relief (opening with the obligatory banter of two soldiers discussing whose penis can or cannot fit through a hole). That's all mixed in well to blend the film together. The only thing that pulled me out of the immersive experience was the moment where I was staring at the screen going, "is that Ray Fiennes?" It is. :-)
Plays May 28, 7:00pm at SIFF Cinema and May 30, 4:00pm at the Uptown Cinema.