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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    ‘The Outpost’ – Gold Star

    Ben Nietzel
    Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

    Muscatine Living

    “The Outpost” is the true story of Bravo Troop 3-61 Cavalry who became the most decorated unit of the Afghanistan War after their defense of a remote outpost at the Battle of Kamdesh in 2009.

    Pro – Craftsmanship

    “The Outpost” is a lesson in excellent movie making. It is never easy to take real life events and make them compelling and thought-provoking, while still maintaining the integrity of the event and those present. This is doubly hard when those events are barely a decade old. Director Rob Lurie deserves a ton of credit for doing just that. “The Outpost” feels authentic. The soldiers at the center of the film are heroic and flawed in a way that real people are.

    The setting is beautifully shot and looks gorgeous for all the reasons that made the outpost at Kamdesh such a terrible location for a United States base. The US outpost there was surrounded by mountains. The film does an amazing job of capturing the beauty and claustrophobic nature of the location. It is clear to soldiers and viewers alike that each minute at this scenic location could easily be their last. Lurie’s direction and decisions drive home the feeling of cramped isolation that the soldiers living in Kamdesh must have felt.

    Pro – Thespians

    “The Outpost” has some amazing action sequences. They aren’t fun because the viewer knows they are based in reality and the consequences of what happened are very real. That said, they are exciting and well done, and give the viewer a sense of the chaos, horror, and bravery of men at war. It is top notch stuff on display.

    Still, it’s the character work that shines in “The Outpost.” Led by Caleb Landry Jones portrayal of SPC Ty Carter. Landry Jones is amazing as the awkward, even disturbing Carter. Scott Eastwood is also excellent as SSG Clint Romesha, exemplifying the humanity of the men at the heart of the story. Perhaps the best compliment one can give is that all the actors felt like real incarnations of the men they played on the screen.

    Pro – Heavy

    “The Outpost” is a heavy film. One of the real powers of film is the ability to transport the viewer into a position they have never been in. “The Outpost” puts the viewer smack in the middle of a brewing military disaster. No amount of logic nor frustration can move the protagonists out of the “hurry up and wait” nightmare they find themselves in. The movie is well organized to show how much the temperament of the commander-in-charge can impact the conditions of the men and their safety at that level. It’s fascinating. “The Outpost” is not political, and it doesn’t tackle broader issues about the War in Afghanistan, but it does give the viewer plenty to ponder on the micro-issues that effect the soldiers sent to serve, and perhaps die there.

    “The Outpost” is great filmmaking. It looks great, it is incredibly well acted, and it’s both thought-provoking and entertaining. The time spent with this film flew by, and it’s one of the best films I’ve had the pleasure of watching in the past year. I highly recommend doing some recon to get some delicious popcorn, and then sitting down to give this movie a watch.

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