The Outpost—based on a real-life battle that took place at an American base poorly placed in the middle of a mountainous Afghanistan—is a harrowing and frustrating experience.
The frustration is not the result of bad filmmaking—quite the contrary, because the film is superbly directed by Rod Lurie. It’s frustrating because you know American soldiers were dropped into a situation in which they would surely be ambushed—a modern-day Little Bighorn. The battle they had to fight occurred under appalling circumstances that should’ve been avoided.
Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood, son of Clint) and his fellow soldiers are hunkered down at Combat Outpost Keating, a base located at the bottom of mountains in Kamdesh, Afghanistan. In a frightening, foreshadowing moment, an American soldier looks at the camp through the sights of his rifle while on patrol in the mountains above, and accurately narrates the sort of attack Taliban soldiers will mount in the coming days.
Lurie, a veteran, knows the business of warfare, and his staging of the ambush will cause you to sweat off 10 pounds. It goes on for what seems like forever, and many Americans fall. It’s absolute chaos, with Romesha being one of the saving graces that helps hold the band of soldiers together. Eastwood is terrific, while Caleb Landry Jones depicts a heartbreaking combination of supreme valor and total hysteria. Their performances anchor the film.
Barack Obama was a great president, but this shit happened on his watch in 2009, albeit in a war he inherited. It’s a war that is still being waged today with a sketchy Taliban peace deal that calls for some American troops to withdraw within a year. The base in Kamdesh has been abandoned, and that’s a good thing.
The Outpost is now streaming on a variety of sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.