Friday, May 23, 2014

Paperman Trailer

Lebanon * * *


Lebanon is most likely an anti-war film about four soldiers told almost exclusively from the inside of a tank.  From their claustrophobic perspective they see the fog of war through a small gun sight lens.  Like watching something on TV, they view the horrors of war in a series of images that they are just barely detached from.  They are accompanied by a small platoon, the leader of which gives them direction.

From a military perspective the soldiers seem inexperienced, undisciplined, under-trained and prone to panic.  Their tank seems old, barely functional, and excessively grimy.  One of the negatives of the film is that the soldiers are very inefficient in combat situations.  The tank crew quickly falls apart emotionally.  

Another negative is that after seeing the inside of the tank for the entire picture, the viewer begins to wonder if there really is a tank in the movie.  After awhile it becomes apparent that you are looking at a movie set.  The final scene of the film is the one in the movie poster above where we finally get to see the exterior of the tank.  Yes, this makes the film feel low budget.

The movie tells us nothing about the war these Israeli soldiers are fighting.  Had they done so it might have given the film more meaning, but the movie isn't taking sides here.  Unless you pay close attention, you might not even know what country these soldiers are from.  The movie seems to want to generalize the experience so that we can interpret this as any group of soldiers fighting any war.

The film is interesting for its images of war but the ineptness of the tank crew made the movie a little less believable for me.  The characters are sort of interesting but I didn't really find myself strongly identifying with any of the characters.  It is more the situation that they are in that drives the movie.

Lebanon has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Another similar movie that I liked better is The Beast of War.

This movie has been compared to Das Boot, but Das Boot has a bigger scope and bigger story.