As Nato forces abandon their country, the Afghan National Army is left to fend for itself. In this politically muted but visually expressive frontline documentary, we’re embedded with the 3rd Brigade, Heavy Weapons Company in Helmand province, a former Taliban stronghold gradually falling back under extremist control. The soldiers are generally poor and far from home, living in cramped concrete barracks and passing their time between firefights bitching about former president Hamid Karzai’s government, the Americans who left them in the lurch and the Taliban forces who make their lives miserable.
Directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy have fashioned a film that’s more a lament than a straightforward narrative, mourning the mess Afghanistan has become and the faceless global forces that have left these young men in this position. It’s stunningly photographed – a nighttime thunderstorm sequence is particularly memorable. But it’s also rather remote, zeroing in on two characters, a sergeant and a private, but never really coming to grips with them as people, rather than just pawns in a larger game.