Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lebanon [2009]

Director: Samuel Maoz
Cast: Oshri Cohen, Zohar Shtrauss, Michael Moshonov, Itay Tiran, Yoav Donat, Dudu Tassa
War Drama
Rating: Teen (violence, brief nudity)
Comment: "A claustrophobic take on war..."

Based on the director-writer's own experiences as a war conscript, this film is a dramatisation of the events in the 1982 Lebanon Wars between Israel and Southern Lebanon. Unlike any other war films, Lebanon takes place almost entirely inside a tank, focusing on the drama between its four tank crew.

What began as a seemingly simple mission of "clearing up" a town after an air raid, the four members of a tank crew learned the hard way that in war, even the simplest of missions can be chaotic.

An interesting take on this particular war film, almost its entirety involves shots from within the tank. One might be inclined to think that being in a tank means there would be less drama as they are relatively well-protected from shots, blasts and debris. I believe the production team achieved what they intended to bring forth; showing that an implosion can be just as damaging as an explosion. For someone who is a bit of a claustrophobic myself, I found the movie to be even more gripping.

According to reports, Lebanon has yet to receive worldwide release yet the film has accumulated a fair amount of controversy, even in its country of origin in Israel. Generally received as an anti-war film, the movie might put off critics on both sides of the fence. Plenty of Muslims might see it as a feeble attempt to "humanise" Jews, while Jews criticise it for deterring Israeli youths from joining the army.

Nobody in the movie screamed jingoism like any war epics to come out of Hollywood. There was no attempt to justify all the acts of terror. Nobody screamed "Freedom!!" while heroically charging into enemy lines. Instead, there was a lot of confusion, miscommunications and trauma. Just like an actual war.

Truth is it's high time for people to realise that war is hell, for civillians and soldiers alike. In the end, it's the people at the bottom who suffers while those at the top pretentiously thinks that they are doing the world a favour.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Originality
- Gritty
- Very realistic
- Credible anti-war flick

The Bad [-0]
- (None)

100 - 0 = 100 points

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