2000s Lebanon (2009)

Published on January 24th, 2011 | by Chris

1

Lebanon (2009)

Review of: Lebanon (2009)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On January 24, 2011
Last modified:October 4, 2012

Summary:

I just couldn't bring myself to like this film. It starts off well enough, but it just never seems to gain any momentum, it failed to really pull me in, and I just wasn't feeling the "overwhelming tension" I'd heard so much about.

Lebanon (2009)Lebanon is a tight little movie about an Israeli tank crew in the early days of the 1982 Lebanon/Israel war.  And really, that's about all I have to say about it.  Well, OK, maybe not *all*....

Despite winning several awards, (see the IMDB page) I just couldn't bring myself to like this film.  It starts off well enough, but it just never seems to gain any momentum, it failed to really pull me in, and I just wasn't feeling the "overwhelming tension" I'd heard so much about.  I felt the tank crew came across as more whiny and incapable than scared-in-the-face-of-battle....  There's a subtle difference, which just didn't quite make it.

That's not to say there aren't some interesting things going on.  The concept is good enough, and initially the whole "war viewed through the scope" thing is interesting, but it gets old fast.  Especially the "video game" like degradation of said scope throughout the movie.  Also interesting is the early visits to the pool of water and oil on the floor of the tank, the crew gazing on their own reflections therein, but then never really coming back to that....  The audio, however, is the one gem here.  The sounds of the tank, especially as it takes on more and more damage throughout the film, are really quite excellent.

But back to it.  What really put me off this the most, however, was the blatant, "war is bad, m'kay?" vibe going on.  Yes, we all know war is bad, evil business.  It's messed up and the normal rules of human decency get thrown on the floor and pissed on.  The thing is, for the most part, all war movies are anti-war movies, in one respect or another.  The early sequence with the car, and the dismembered driver shouting "peace! peace!" started that.  Then the sequence soon after with the family held hostage made it clear what direction we were headed.

There are several other moments that left me scratching my head as well.  The whole thing with the "phalangists" and the syrian prisoner I didn't quite get.  Maybe its a 'frame of reference' thing that I don't understand, I don't know.

Ultimately I didn't think it succeeded.  If you want a really tense (and intense) tank movie, try 1988's The Beast.

I'm giving this a five, just because of the audio, and several stylistic elements (see above) that caught my eye.  And yes, the whole thing is in Hebrew with subtitles, just a heads up.

Lebanon [Blu-ray] Lebanon [Blu-ray]
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Description

In 1982, during the First Lebanon War, a tank manned by a novice crew of Israeli soldiers are led into a town previously bombed by the air force. Young men who have never fought before are now placed inside of a killing machine and thrown into a situation that quickly spins out of control, testing the mental toughness of the men inside of a confined space, with only the lens of a periscopic gun sight to see the madness outside...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand:
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Classics
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Reymond Amsalem
  • Ashraf Barhom

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Kind of Poor Film, October 3, 2015
By 
Spike (Central Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lebanon (Amazon Video)
This is not an easy film. It's a the portrayal of the insanities of war view through the armoured prism viewing port of an Israeli tank in 1982's Lebanese war. Dir.Yosav Donat neither praises nor condemns war. He instead, lets war condemn itself, and limits his praise to the enormous value he imputes upon a group of ordinary men trapped in extraordinary circumstances. He does not make these men into heroes, but simply forces us to accept their humanity even as they make mistake after mistake in a terribly inhumane environment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I really liked the way the entire movie took place in the ..., May 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lebanon [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Bought this movie after seeing the trailer and hearing it referred to as "the Das Boot" of tank movies. I really liked the way the entire movie took place in the tank and felt very claustrophobic; I think that was a cool and interesting choice by the director and I can appreciate the movie for that. Also if it was simply the director's choice due to budget concerns I can appreciate that as well; I would much prefer the movie as is verses a dull roar of bad effects or CGI. Overall I think the ending left a little bit more to be desired; not necessarily more action, but I didn't have quite the sense of troop brotherhood I get from other war movies. Also the last scene at the end that could have been left on the cutting room floor, I don't see how that added anything to the story or characters or movie as a whole.
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1.0 out of 5 stars It was a waste of $9, December 12, 2016
By 
PJM (North Pole) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lebanon (Amazon Video)
This is a very poorly executed movie. It was a waste of $9.99 and 2 hours of time. Do not buy it, do not watch it. The characters are not likable and what happens for a grueling 2 hours is not interesting. The interaction of the soldiers is unprofessional and unrealistic. I read an article in the WSJ that described the movie and looked forward to watching it. When I was done and I reflected on what I just watched, I was disappointed.
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Lebanon (2009) Chris

Summary: I just couldn't bring myself to like this film. It starts off well enough, but it just never seems to gain any momentum, it failed to really pull me in, and I just wasn't feeling the "overwhelming tension" I'd heard so much about.

2.5


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to Lebanon (2009)

  1. I was curious when I heard about it but then I read several not enthusiastic reviews. Some went into many political details. Seems as if they (film director) muddled up a few things. It probably deserves some attention for the choice of setting but unfortunately that’s not enough to make a good movie.

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