Rod Lurie's The Outpost is a no-nonsense film, capturing the brutal intensity of warfare in a way that feels terrifying, yet authentic. Lurie's interest in accuracy and depicting the bravery of the real-life soldiers the film is based on makes for an engaging thematic experience that demands your attention.
Rod Lurie‘s The Outpost is a brutal war film, depicting the real-life events with gritty realism that will certainly take a toll on you. The Outpost is full of action and suspense, but its crowning achievement lies within its story, which is well-written and well-acted in even measures. Scott Eastwood leads the assembled talent with confidence and patriotism, while Orlando Bloom and Caleb Landry Jones give the film its sharp edges and variety.
The Outpost follows a group of American soldiers that go up against hundreds of Taliban fighters while defending a less-than-ideal base in Afghanistan. It’s a truly miraculous tale that absolutely couldn’t be based on a true story, right?
Wrong actually, this film is based on a true story, which makes the events that happen all the more impressive and all the more sad as the toll of war lies heavy on all of the characters.
Scott Eastwood‘s Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha is the optimistic tough guy that knows when to go into full-forced attack mode, but also when to keep his mouth shut and follow orders. I’ve never been a huge fan of Eastwood’s acting abilities until this film, because I’ve always felt that he comes off a little too cocky for his own good. In this film the cockiness is measured and earned, giving his character a sort of nuance that I didn’t think Eastwood had the ability to play. Romesha isn’t far from your typical military stereotype, but Eastwood tries his damnedest to convince you that he can bring a bit of range to the character when called for.
Orlando Bloom and Caleb Landry Jones take second and third bill respectfully and I must admit that neither one stole the show, but both gave the film that much-needed dose of different. Bloom has never commanded the screen nor has he ever made himself into a believable leader, yet in this film he manages to take the material and run with it, bringing a sense of veteran experience to the role that has no doubt been earned over the years.
Meanwhile, Caleb Landry Jones gives a performance that can best be described as unhinged and on the verge of breaking point. He manages to keep his cool for the most part, but his character definitely represents the chaos of war and the fragility of the human spirit. There’s so much conflict being wrestled within himself and those around him and Jones manages to translate that into an engaging and energetic performance that you might not immediately fall in love with, but will grow to understand and relate to.
On the whole, The Outpost works very well as a war film that absolutely moves like a freight train. Director Rod Lurie spares no expense and wastes no time capturing the frantic insanity of warfare, be it through the impressive use of surround sound or the bloodied and battle wounded visuals that capture the action in a way that’s both fluid and yet still full of shellshock.
His ability to cut between different characters and capture those moments is a skill that not many directors have. Generally, war films either lose you somewhere during the action or attempt to slow things down to the point of making it feel more like a Hollywood production and less like a real-life depiction of what happened. But with The Outpost, there’s a sense of realism that is achieved through tight editing and proper camera placement.
There’s a lot going on and it’s without a doubt confusing given the circumstances, but you never lose focus and are almost always right where you need to be to fully grasp the overall film and its effectiveness.
The trailer for The Outpost had me thinking that I was in for yet another straight-to-video war film that’s probably lacking a budget and way too focused on preaching the military without really humanizing those involved — too often do we see flawless ideas of what a soldier should be versus the actual thing.
I’m glad to say that The Outpost outs those expectations and delivers on all fronts. Heck, watching this in the comfort of my own home had no negative impact versus being able to see it on the big screen. The film was loud, looked and felt like a top-dollar production and made great use of the talent assembled both in front of and behind the lens.
Those looking for a well-made war film that has a truly heroic story to tell will enjoy The Outpost. It moves fast, it’s well-acted and it looks and sounds every bit as impressive as something you would’ve seen opening weekend in a packed theater sometime this summer. Don’t let its lack of a theatrical release fool you, because The Outpost is the real deal.