If you're looking for an intricate plot, look elsewhere. If you're looking for feel-good, shoot-em-up action, look elsewhere. If you're looking for the latest sugar-pill rom-com with Sandra Bullock, why are you even reading this? In Uwe Boll's stunning "Tunnel Rats," the increasingly interesting (but still no less maligned) German director has made what essentially amounts to a chronicle of the madness of war told in a confined, claustrophobic, and frighteningly intimate way. The concept and plot (a platoon of American soldiers uncovering underground tunnels built by the Viet Cong to stage ambushes) are one and the same; and the metaphors paralleling confined spaces to the erosion of sanity are strong--hysteria is very viscerally believable here. While the character introductions and subsequent dialogs may strike notes of familiarity to the seasoned connoisseur of cinematic warfare, it's the unfamiliarity of the cast (with Boll regular Michael Pare being the only 'name' actor present) that makes it all stick; the lack of name actors only heightens the suspense, especially after they've earned our sympathy. To see these young men trapped in confined, booby-trapped spaces (with nothing but a revolver and a flashlight) is the stuff of nightmares, even more so than "The Descent" a few years back. The film maintains a bleak, free-form nihilism throughout, its plot (much like the war it's invoking) a jagged sequence of events rather than a simple matter of connect-the-dots conflict resolution. Tough, hypnotic, and refreshingly free of contrived stylistic symbolism, "Tunnel Rats" could very well be Uwe Boll's masterpiece.
7.5 out of 10