Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 10 Feb 2014, and is filled under Reviews.

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The Patrol – Film Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Alex McNally plays Ginge.

 

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