Sunday, October 3, 2010

VIFF 2010 – Armadillo

This documentary follows a group of young Danish soldiers who are deployed to an army base in Southern Afghanistan called Armadillo. The film follows these soldiers for a sixth month period as they patrol through local villages and confront members of the Taliban.

Armadillo features some amazing scenes of war. The cameramen often were putting their lives on the line in order to get the shots of these soldiers at work. Many of these scenes wouldn't be out of place in a film like Black Hawk Down. The most extreme scene in the film is also the most controversial as the conduct of the soldiers gets questioned back home after a shootout with members of the Taliban. The documentary purely shows these scenes without judgment and it is up to the audience to determine for themselves whether their actions were right or wrong.

That is my main problem with the film. As the film purpose is to just show these soldiers at work I never really felt myself connecting with anything in the film. I observed these scenes of war without any emotional response. Even though the soldiers of Armadillo are in harm's way at all times, I never felt any sense of danger for them. That is mainly because the documentary doesn't focus on any one soldier. Instead it focuses on the whole group of new soldiers and as result spreads itself to thin for emotional connection.

Aside from these issues the film is an interesting watch. I haven't seen war documented so up close before and for that the film is a success. Armadillo does not have a release date yet.

A Good Banana

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