9 out of 10
Release Date: 28th November 2014
Director: Paul Katis
Cast: Mark Stanley, David Elliot, Scott Kyle, Benjamin O’Mahony, Bryan Parry, Thomas Davison, Paul Luebke, Grant Kilburn, Andy Gibbins, John Doughty, Ali Cook, Malachi Kirby, Robert Mitchell, Jon-Paul Bell and Liam Ainsworth
Writer: Tom Williams
This is a striking tribute to the men that lost their lives and those that were maimed. Kajaki does not airbrush the situation with overblown Hollywood style-heroics. The makers pull no punches when it comes to showing how a unit comes together when under extreme duress and also become victims of failing equipment, bad communications and low supplies at the same time. The wounds look very real and the performances by the actors never once strike a false beat. The script is all too real, simultaneously remaining upbeat to keep their injured friends spirits ‘up’ yet never once letting us forget that everybody in the mined wadi is terrified.
The lack of any major ‘name’ actors gives this film a rare strength as the viewer is left to root for the whole team. Certain actors in the ensemble shine briefly for a moment or two only for the focus to shift to another soldier. That the actors probably function in much the same way as the actual soldiers did wouldn’t come as a surprise. Kajaki is gripping in all the right ways because you feel like you’re in the thick of it too. Mark Wright (DAVID ELLIOT – STILL WATERS) explains to medic Tug (MARK STANLEY – MR TURNER) that the minefield is a hangover from the Russian – Afghan war in the 1980s. The mines had been washed down in the mud (during flashstorms) to the base of the dry wadi from their original tactical ordnances. They also comment on the fact that they are but the next in the line of intruders to leave a legacy or war-traps behind them when they leave Afghanistan.
Kajaki is a gripping and thoroughly relentless depiction of a most tragic and unusual day. It’s an important film to see that shows that soldiers are just regular guys earning a living just like you and I, only it’s more than a profit margin that’s on the line that’s at risk. It’s a near-perfect war movie that get’s very high marks for bypassing the easy Hollywood shenanigans and cliches to stay true to the soldiers involved and the terrifying circumstances of that fateful day. Wholeheartedly recommended.
9 out of 10 – Wrought and thrilling. A true story that will shake you our of your ‘first world’ rut so you can see what our brave soldiers really give up.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Mark Stanley: Game of Thrones (TV), Mr Turner
- David Elliot: The Inland Road
- Scott Kyle: The Angels’ Share
- Benjamin O’Mahony: 301 Troop
- Paul Luebke: Djinn, Wrong Turn 5
- Ali Cook: The Call Up, In The Blood (2015), The Anomaly, Get Lucky
- Malachi Kirby: Dough, Fallen, Gone Too Far, The Last Showing, Eastenders (TV), My Brother The Devil, Offender
- Liam Ainsworth: Genesis, The Violators