Published on October 24th, 2011 | by Chris1
Much like the incredible Restrepo, Armadillo puts you right in the middle of the war in Afghanistan. Only this time we go with a group of recruits from Denmark.
This is a pretty undefinable little film. It departs significantly at times from the usual documentary format. In fact, at times you will (at least I did) wonder if some of the shots aren't staged. There are a lot of these moments. So many in fact that it somewhat takes away from the entire experience.
Fortunately, though, none of these moments occur when the camera is out in the field with these guys. Which is where the shit really hits the fan. The final scene where the platoon gets split with a squad of Taliban stuck in a ditch between them.... It doesn't get much more harrowing than that. And brutal. Scenes like this show just what its like. Without any sugar coating. Apart from that it reminded me more of a TV reality show. Mainly because of the camera/production work that they dressed it up in during the soldiers' down time. Then the almost "fabricated" soap opera surrounding that ambush which never goes anywhere....
This review is pretty short, I will admit. It's basically because there isn't a lot to say. The basic premise is this: 1) Film a bit of the guys before they leave, 2) film them "over there" as various things happen to them, 3) film a bit as they return home.
All that said, I'm going to give this a solid 7/10. I would have gone less, but the actual "in the field" stuff really does make the "other stuff" not quite so important or distracting overall. I know this was a pretty acclaimed movie, but I couldn't bring myself to get all excited about it.
One thing I did notice, and I wondered why it wasn't included, because you know at one point one of them said it. None of them really wondered out loud on camera, "just WTF are we Danes doing here, anyway?" Especially as their guys get killed and wounded. I know I'd be thinking it. Don't get me wrong, the contribution they make to the overall effort over there is invaluable, and greatly appreciated. I'm speaking on a personal level, from their point of view....
Obviously, all of the dialog is in Danish and subtitled. Not a problem for me, just need to point this out.
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ARMADILLO is a raw and unforgettable journey into the war in Afghanistan. Mads and Daniel are Danish troops joining the NATO mission in Helmand Province. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, with Taliban fighters a stone's throw away...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Kino Video
Manufacturer: Lorber Films
Original Release Date:
- Janus Metz Pedersen
- Factory sealed DVD
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Daring Danish war documentary with "Restrepo" parallels,
This review is from: Armadillo (DVD)I didn't go see "Armadillo" in the theaters. I didn't even rent the DVD. In fact, I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago when I came across it on IFC while channel surfing. The description looked interesting, and since the opening credits were still rolling I decided to give it a try. It turns out that I made a pretty good decision.
This film documents the six-month tour of a Danish military unit at Camp Armadillo, a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan. Much like "Restrepo" it was filmed by embedded journalists, took place around the same timeframe and in the same country (though on the opposite side), included pre- and post-tour footage from the soldiers' respective home countries, and features a small team of Allied forces engaging the Taliban.
I'm a big fan of historical films and war epics, and have seen a fair amount of movies and documentaries about global events, conflict, armed forces and government intelligence. As an American, I love a... Read more
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Most Eloquent Depiction of Combat Stress,
This review is from: Armadillo (DVD)So I was surfing IFC and found Armadillo. Watched it. If you have ever been in contact this documentary will allow you to revisit the sound of bullets passing your head. In one contact, they are so close you can hear the Taliban shouting. In another, a classic trench assault w/ hand grenade is used.
More importantly, it deals with the struggles on both sides. Civilians getting hurt by Taliban shoot and scoot from your compound tactics. Danes trying to patrol enough to push the Taliban north where the war won't impact the civilians as much. Taliban posing as civilians to get money to buy weapons, only to be killed by the very people who paid them. Danes watching their friends get hit with IEDs, getting shot and monotony.
Extremely delicate topics are discussed. The farmer who has his house bombed (right or not isn't presented), and replies "How should we know? Maybe it's our fault? What can we do?....". Platoon Commander Rasmus is hit by an IED and talks about the... Read more
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
review: Restrepo and Armadillo compared,
This review is from: Armadillo [Region B] (Blu-ray)The Anglo-American military involvement in Afghanistan has now dragged on for ten years, and sadly a lot of British and American soldiers have been killed, and that's not to mention the Afghans who have had it worse for longer. I bought and watched the documentaries Restrepo and Armadillo out of respect for the documentary makers who risked their lives to make these films, and to see what I could learn about this intractable conflict from watching them...
Restrepo is a truly brilliant documentary. The first thing to say about it is that it was made in co-operation with National Geographic, and was therefore politically constrained from the start. That's why there is no overt or explicit critique of US policy in the film, and little context-setting. Instead, the film makers rather cunningly went for realism, which becomes it's own critique. One scene after another makes you realise the total futility of trying to control and dominate a place like the Korengal Valley... Read more
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Summary: Armadillo puts you right in the middle of the war in Afghanistan. Only this time we go with a group of recruits from Denmark