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In Afghanistan, French journalist Elsa and her colleague Amen are covering the story of Maina, a woman sold to a man when she was a child. Taliban leader Ahmed Zaief abducts Elsa and Amen and tries to force them to read a message to Western governments. The French president sends six Special Force to rescue Elsa who's hidden in a fortress in Pakistan. The team composed of Commander Kovax, Tic-Tac, Lucas, the sniper Elias, Victor and Marius release Elsa and Amen from their imprisonment but lose their radios. Now the group needs to cross the inhospitable land to save their lives with the Taliban chasing them. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Worth a look but not brilliant or original or quite believable
Special Forces (2011)
The main reason to see this movie is to get a look at a French parallel to American war movies set in Afghanistan. There are clear similarities, and even some borrowed clichés (assuming the American movies created the clichésmostly from earlier war movies). And there are some interesting differences, like the way the characters are developed and their slightly different sense of camaraderie.
The bulk of this movie is similar to many adventure films. A group of "good guys" is trying to escape from forces of evil that want to kill them. This is on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the "bad guys" are some extremist Taliban (if that's not redundant). The main bad guy conveniently speaks perfect Oxbridge English (not French) and is thoughtful and thoughtless at once.
All of this seems like good stuff, and it is somehow interesting for its uniqueness coming out of French movie-making and French national pride. Don't expect any soul searching here, or actual revelations about character or even about the cause of war. The good and evil aspects are simply given, and then shown in the usual way. What sustains the movie through all this is that it's very well done, and the acting (and therefore the characters) are quite believable. There is true heroism and suffering. And a taut suspense in many scenes.
It's too long by far, however, and there is a huge chuck of the movie where the group, with its shrinking numbers, struggles through the mountains that seem to become impossibly snowy and alpine. It isn't clear why the French military gives up trying to save them after dropping them in enemy territory. The Americans, who would have been there more or less de facto, are not mentioned or hinted at (which I don't mind, but it's not quite realistic as the crisis gets worse).
There's even an improbable moment, after days of absolute struggle through some high snowy terrain, that the bad guys show up as if they took a taxi. Maybe they did. But it's all so convenient and packaged.
So, take it for what it is. Well done, solid in some ways, and wobbly in its larger arc.
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