Nanawatai (Pashto: "sanctuary") is a tenet of the Pashtunwali code of the Pashtun people. It allows a beleaguered person to enter the house of any other person and make a request of him which cannot be refused, even at the cost of the host's own life or fortune. See more »
When Paul Gross's patrol arrives at the safe house to meet with the Ghost for the first time, the first Afghan National Army (ANA) jeep has a .50 cal machine gun on the roof, but it's obvious that it wasn't attached as it's on its side and the actor tries to right it at one point. See more »
*Repeated line* Haji, what the f*ck are you doing?
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The film's title doesn't appear on screen until the closing credits. See more »
Excellent movie about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan
Paul Gross took a few risks in making this movie about Canada's military campaign in Afghanistan's Kandahar province--"the birthplace of the Taliban" and pretty much a hornet's nest for the tiny Canadian NATO force that tried to secure the region for five long years.
The movie is thoughtful and subtle, rather than offering beginning-to-end war movie entertainment, and it focuses on people and some of the impossible personal and professional choices they're forced to make in complex and unforgiving situations--on both sides of the cultural divide between occupier and occupied.
In this the movie isn't afraid to show that some of the all-too-human choices turn out to be the wrong ones, or that the protagonists can declare personal guiding principles and then contradict them in their professional response to circumstances.
For the most part, the movie avoids setting up two-dimensional characters in a good guys-bad guys scenario; however, it failed in this respect regarding the Taliban, who were reduced to nonentities worthy only of being killed wholesale--much like the Somalis in Blackhawk Down.
As in Blackhawk Down, and a slew of similar tales about recent Western military action against foreign countries, Hyena Road treats the local resistance to foreign occupation as almost an affront to the well-meaning efforts of "our" noble warriors. But presumably it wasn't made for Afghan audiences.
To fully appreciate the movie, it helps if you know something about Afghanistan's past forty years of foreign military occupation and civil war, and also if you know something about Canada's military--where the personal and the professional are never far apart. I believe this quality is one of the things that makes the Canadian Forces so good in the field: they're not trained to be machines; they're trained to be fully human warriors--which I felt the movie illustrated very well in the relationships between the Canadian protagonists and the veteran Afghan fighter, with admirable understatement by Mr. Gross.
Hyena Road is less entertainment than it is an education about aspects of personal warriorship and about Western nations' activities in foreign realms most of us know nothing about, but about which many of us hold strong opinions nevertheless (oh yes, and the action scenes are pretty riveting and authentic-looking!). I think Paul Gross succeeded very well in what he set out to do with Hyena Road.
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