* (One star)
Daniel Myrick is no novice when it comes to low-budget films. In 1999, he cowrote and codirected the sleeper hit The Blair Witch Project, about three college kids terrified by menacing fall foliage. This film, Myrick's latest, offers a promising story and a setting (today's Afghanistan), which should lend itself to intriguing political and social commentary. However, the film fails to cash in on any of this potential.
In this story, CIA operative Ben Keynes (Jonas Ball) leads five belligerent soldiers—brutal stock characters all—on a top-secret mission to the former Taliban stronghold in search of a mysterious weapon of unknown origin. But clues slowly reveal a more nefarious agenda. Dead bodies disappear or are found mutilated beyond recognition, and strange flying lights vaporize those who approach them. And, oh yeah, terrorists are running around and causing shenanigans too.
Myrick's blatant references to Blair Witch become increasingly gratuitous as the story goes along, especially with the protagonist filming every strange event. At one point, the soldiers wake up in the middle of their camp to ominously large primitive sculptures made of—what else?—wooden sticks. Ball's somber voiceover, which is frequently plagued by laugh-out-loud dialogue, gives the production the shabby feel of an Unsolved Mysteries dramatization. Ultimately, The Objective’s attempted self-consciousness reduces it to a mere parody of itself.—Jonathan Lewis, associate online producer
[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.]