Written and directed by former soldier, Tom Petch, 'The Patrol' provides the antidote to the war action film. A psychological drama, the film explores the relationships between a group of British soldiers as they grow disillusioned with the Afghan war.
In 2006 the UK Minster of Defence announced the deployment of British Troops to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, saying: 'We would be happy to leave Afghanistan without firing a single shot'. 'The Patrol' features a British Army Operational Mentor and Liaison Team supporting this NATO led operation. As the scale of the Taliban insurgency dawns on the soldiers, problems with their operation cause the men to question their role in the war. Written by
At one point the squad is expecting a supply drop which is eventually released several hundred meters ahead of them, though the area is calm and visibility is excellent. It is unclear why nobody thought about popping color smoke to mark their position more precisely so the parachute could be ejected closer. See more »
This got a lot of hype when it received its very limited release . The publicity material heavily emphasised writer/director Tom Petch served in the British army for more than eight years which is eight years longer than I served . The publicity was rather reluctant to go in to details and I don't want to sound disrespectful but Mr Petch left the army in 1997 , four years before the war on terror started . Mr Petch was a civilian when the British army entered Helmand province in 2005 and it shows . If nothing else it goes to show than former ex British military can make a dreadful war drama as badly as any British civilian peacenik
The success of a war film is to bring a sense of time and place to the audience . The story is set during a British operation in Helmand in 2006 but on nearly every level the entire narrative feels like it's taking place in Vietnam in the early 1970s . Petch claims he made this film to show the lack of proper equipment and of a clear mandate British forces found themselves with in Afghanistan but is badly executed you'd think the director has an agenda somewhere
As for the equipment .50 calibre machine guns constantly jam and the reason is put down to bad ammo . Not impossible I guess . I'll give the director the benefit of the doubt even if it happens a bit too often . Likewise radios not working . Apparently though the ire of Petch goes mainly towards the SA80 rifle
" If it's supposed to be so good " whines one squaddie " Why don't the SAS use it ? "
So if the SAS don't use a certain weapon it must be rubbish ? Not sure if that's good yardstick to judge something with
" But who else uses the SA80 ? " whines Mr Whiny
40 years ago all the world's armies were split between using three assault rifles , the M-16 , the FN Fal and the AK47 . Since then nearly every country due to reasons of chauvinism has produced its own assault weapon with the British using the SA80 which is almost universally adored by everyone who uses it in the British Army and is considered better than the American M-4 carbine . Mr Whiny is obviously an obtuse contrarian
What this makes more problematic for the film is that it ties in with a bigger picture mainly one of characterisation . A British military patrol pushes in to Taliban territory in 2006 within a couple of days morale has collapsed in to near mutiny . Seriously ? From what I've read and heard second hand from squaddies a posting to Helmand in 2006 was a dream posting . Young men join the army to fight and since 1960 no one has been forced to join the British Army . Constant tours to the 'Stan might have taken a toll on the military but this wouldn't have been the case in 2006 . Nor would morale have collapsed to the extent where soldiers constantly disobey mission orders as seen here . What makes it even worse from a logic and drama point of view is the time-frame along with a distinct lack of inciting incident and motive . I don't want to sound like a cheer leader for the Ministry Of Defence but if I had served in Afghanistan I'd feel very insulted by this film and I wouldn't be surprised if some of Mr Petch's erstwhile military colleagues are arranging a firing squad for him as I write this
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