June, 1982 - The First Lebanon War. A lone tank and a infantry platoon are dispatched to search a hostile town - a simple mission that turns into a nightmare. The four members of a tank crew find themselves in a violent situation that they cannot handle. Motivated by fear and the basic instinct of survival, they desperately try not to lose themselves in the most emblematic act of uncivilized problem solving: war.Written by
I had mixed reviews prior to seeing Lebanin and sadly this was a film that lacked in many departments and I am glad I resisted ordering on blu-ray.
Situated inside a tank for several claustrophobic days during the Israel-Lebanon war and seen, largely, through the gun sight of the gunner this could have been a tense, gritty film with much in common with submarine films or the decent 80's film The Beast.
Some reviews I have read complained about the emotive or manipulative images or events portrayed and I share these sentiments. The camera unnaturally/gun focuses in close up on "evocative" images like corpses, a poster of the virgin mary, more corpses, crying women - the gunner is spends the film watching like a tourist providing the audience with dramatic/tragic scenes in close up. Which feels unnatural, scripted and left myself and other reviewers feeling manipulated.
The grime of the tank is palpable and the soldiers become dirtier as they creep further into (or out of) contested territory. This might have been a device designed to reflect the mental state of the soldiers (and interesting) - but the psychological states of the inexperienced and uninteresting crew was beyond us. We just didn't care by the time things got tense.
Perhaps if the driver's view, and the commander's, were included instead of just the gunners this might have helped the film. As it was the gunner spent the whole time turning the tank barrel to follow people in close up instead of doing his job and watching for enemies. It felt wack.
Viewers that think a camera being shaken in the last word in action and that believe what is put on screen before them is implicitly true and authentic might love this film. The wife gave up at about 30min, I fast forwarded the last 20 min.
Get The Beast out or watch Das Boot again instead...
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