Review: Soldiers surrounded by mountains, gunfire in chaotic 'The Outpost'
Thriller is based on true story of 2009's Battle of Kamdesh
There are sitting ducks and then there's Combat Outpost Keating, a military outpost in northern Afghanistan which is located in a valley surrounded by three steep mountains where enemy forces are constantly attacking the soldiers below.
That is the setting for "The Outpost," a breathless based-on-a-true-story military thriller about young soldiers forced to fight their way out of an impossible situation they should have never found themselves in in the first place.
Director Rod Lurie ("The Contender") introduces a group of army men, including First Lt. Benjamin Keating (Orlando Bloom), Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood) and Staff Sgt. Ty Carter (standout Caleb Landry Jones), who are tasked with connecting with locals and attempting to stop the flow of weapons and Taliban fighters from Pakistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Fire frequently rains down on them from the mountains above, putting the soldiers perpetually on the defense. And a rotating group of squad leaders come in, serve mixed messages — the post is scheduled to close in July, they're told, and then it's not — before moving on to their next assignment.
It's a backdrop of nonstop confusion and chaos, which Lurie — working from a script by Oscar nominee Eric Johnson ("The Fighter"), who based it on Jake Tapper and Paul Tamasy's "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor" — effectively captures, along with the sense of hard-earned camaraderie among the troops.
The second half of the film is essentially a nonstop battle sequence, and it unfolds with hectic, you-are-there urgency. "The Outpost" isn't flashy or pretty, but it's told with a true grit that honors the real life soldiers it depicts.
Rated R: war violence and grisly images, pervasive language, and sexual references
Running time: 123 minutes