I started watching this movie because Djimon Hounsou was in it.  I had just finished watching Laura Croft: Cradle of Life and it popped up as a suggestion.  I loved him in Gladiator and Guardians of the Galaxy.  It seemed like the logical choice.  Plus the language was set as dual French and English and I am always looking for ways to improve my French.

For a very VERY condensed plot summary, a team of French Special Forces are sent to rescue a journalist taken hostage by the Taliban.  The movie is their fight to get her to safety after they are forced to travel cross country instead of being air lifted out.

I was more than a little surprised at how much I loved this movie.  In part because of how gritty and painful this movie is.  I typically gravitate to movies that suspend reality and have the off chance of a happy ending.  Here there is no sugar coating, just painful reality.  The heroes aren’t perfect, they don’t all make it out alive, and there is no happy ending.  In the end, not all the wrongs are righted and you are left with a sense that the story is not complete.  You want to know what happens to those that survive and what things they go on to do, but there is no answer.  Just like in life.

In addition, the cinematography is exquisite.  The contrast between the story and the scenery is painfully beautiful.  While the background is sweeping mountains and scenically unspoiled land, the main characters are struggling not only to live but to live with loosing those they love.  A pristine white mountain becomes sullied with a crude grave marker while the music is soaring in your ears.  The music stirs the soul while the eyes are telling you that evil is real.  The juxtaposition is breathtaking and compelling at once.  At times, the movie becomes sensory overload and I was forced to look away to process it.

The movie is not good because it transports you away from reality, but because it does precisely the opposite.  As you watch, you realize that this is daily life for some, and that is both uplifting and terrifying.  For you see bravery in extremes.  There is the grandiose bravery of the rescue and the bravery of the townspeople simply opening their homes in spite of those that forbid it.  To be frankly honest, I am not sure which is more inspiring.

Giving this movie a good review seems wrong, for I would not recommend this for the faint of heart of for those looking for a comedy.  But if you are ready for an experience that rips your heart out and brings you to the verge of tears, this is your movie.

Love and life,


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