The psychological effects on the average soldier have been explored many times before, but in Samuel Maoz's Lebanon, a few soldiers face battle from the most claustrophobic environment imaginable: a tank. Lebanon shows wars from a perspective largely ignored in previous efforts, but the overall experience isn't perfect.
Set in the first Israeli-Lebanese war in 1982, a lone tank and platoon are dispatched to a hostile village. But the soldiers in the tank are largely inexperienced and not used to actual battle; they struggle with the constant, often competing battle between orders and their own survival instincts.
Maoz's depiction of war is a gut-wrenching one, a gritty, filthy, sweaty, bloody and grimy portrayal set within confines not much larger than a bathroom. Most of the war is seen through a scope lens; the war is feet away and yet not seen in person. Comparisons to Das Boot are more than appropriate.
But while Lebanon is expertly filmed, there's one thing missing: characters you can relate to. As fragile and scared as the characters are, they also come off as incompetent and incapable of following simple orders. Heroes - even heroic acts - aren't necessary, but there's not a single relatable individual amongst the group.
The problem lies predominantly in the first few minutes; Maoz jumps into the action too quickly. No time is given to develop the characters before stress factors in, to establish a common ground with the audience. The characters are only shown in a state of fear, but it's challenging to relate to people who are panicking.
Back to the "expertly filmed" comment two paragraphs prior. Maoz has created a visually intense film, but he overreaches his bounds at times. His message comes on strong - a little too strong - and every snippet that the soldiers see through their gun sights seems to be some conveniently placed imagery that reminds us war is hell.
Thanks for reminding us. I thought it was like cotton candy.
Lebanon is an intense film, but it suffers from an overeager message and overanxious storytelling. As a result, it's a good war film but not the groundbreaking one it so easily could have been.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
Hot Stories From Around the Webblog comments powered by Disqus
Movie Reviews |
About Us |
Contact Us |
FilmJabber is a client of this SEO Consultant.