This is the statement from writer-director Tom Petch: ‘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 them soldiers, problems with their operation cause the men to question their role in the war.
Well, basically, after a lot of bickering, one of the patrol gets shot – Taff (Owain Arthur) – and airlifted out. This prompts a crisis among the remaining men, who are now in fear of their lives, in a war that means nothing to them and in a place that means less. The men are just dazed and confused, as well as scared.
The officer in charge is remote and aloof – Lieutenant Jonathan Bradshaw (Daniel Fraser), not connecting with his men properly and seeming indecisive when he needs to act fast and be strong. His second in command – Captain William Richardson (Ben Righton) – is equally out of his depth. But, when a kind of mutiny occurs, he swings over to the men’s side, partly because he was to get home alive and see his new baby.
With the help of excellent performances from a strong, well-picked cast, and a well-written dialogue- and character-led script, Tom Petch makes a really good job of this war drama. The economic documentary-style filming pays off in terms of urgency and realism. This commendable movie’s credible, intelligent, thought-provoking and gripping too as an entertainment.
On a £1million budget, it lacks sweep and scale, but nevertheless it’s top low-budget Brit film-making. And it looks right, with its Morocco locations. As Lieutenant Bradshaw would say: ‘Well done chaps. Good show!’
It won the Film of the Festival jury prize at the Raindance Film Festival 2013.
(C) Derek Winnert 2014 derekwinnert.com
Alex McNally plays Ginge.