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ARMADILLO is an astute exploration of the culture of war. Director Janus Metz follows Danish soldiers fighting the Taliban in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan with sophisticated visual artistry rarely achieved under such raw conditions. Building his film around the characters within the platoon, Metz allows us to witness how war transforms the different personalities, and the group, approaching his subjects with an intimacy equal to that of fiction. The active military base "Armadillo" houses a mix of 170 Danish and British soldiers in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) who are responsible for providing security to the surrounding area and eliminating the Taliban insurgency. Metz follows his subjects through an entire tour of duty, creating an unforgettable portrait of the reality of military life on the front lines. Documenting both the boredom and horror of warfare, Metz shows us the soldiers playing video games and laughing at pornography, struggling to communicate with disillusioned civilians, and killing a group of Taliban soldiers found hiding in a trench. The film avoids judgments for or against the war, and instead shows the soldiers struggling to maintain their humanity in a world filled with violence.-- (c) New Yorker

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Critic Reviews for Armadillo

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Armadillo

  • Nov 03, 2013
    War documentaries are important in showing a side of reality that we normally don't see. The image of war that has been hollywoodized is stripped away, and the sheer reality of what's going onsets in. What you see before you is real, the soldiers are not actors and the intensity is raw, gritty and in your face. Armadillo is a phenomenal documentary about the Afghan war effort. Following a six month tour of duty by a Danish Regiment, Armadillo plunges the viewers directly in the experience of what goes on behind enemy lines, and shows us what these soldiers go through in order to try and stabilize a country torn apart by war. This is a riveting film, one that is a must see for viewers who are interested in warfare. Because of the subject, it's an important film, one that needs to be seen. The film shows us what these soldiers go through, the cost of what warfare can do to the human state of mind, and how the soldiers try to keep their minds occupied so that they can accomplish their mission and return home safely. This documentary shows us that fighting the war in Afghanistan is not all about fighting the Taliban, but it's also to bring stability and security to a country that was oppressed by the Taliban. Armadillo is terrific in its portrayal of what warfare is like. For those interested in the subject, this is a very good film to watch, and like other documentaries like Gunner Palace and Restrepo, Armadillo is an important film that needs to be seen. If you want to know more about the war effort in Afghanistan then this is a perfect film to watch and learn. Brilliant, disturbing, and at times shocking, Armadillo is like no other documentaries that have come before it, but is sure to join the many films about the subject as essential viewing.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2012
    In the searing documentary "Armadillo," there is a controversy late in the film centering around a firefight from outside the platoon the movie has been following for months. What is implied strongly in the conversation is that unless you were there, you cannot judge the actions of soldiers in combat. This documentary about soldiers facing an unseen and respected foe is the next best thing, however. "Armadillo" is largely filmed in 2010 at a forward base in Helmand Province in Afghanistan that houses 200 Danish and British soldiders. Unstated in this documentary is the fact that there is a draft in Denmark, so it is a little hard to judge who truly wants to be there, just as the immaturity of the soldiers show in their love of strippers, porn and video games.(There is a great cut from a violent video game to an outside scene illuminated by an infrared lens.) They are on a six month rotation to a war they did not start and will not finish. In the short time available, the soldiers try to make Afghanistan a better place for the natives living there who acknowledge their temporary status and do not all come out unscathed, like the soldiers seeking to protect them.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2011
    'Armadillo'. An alarming, eye opening look into a Danish platoon in Afghanistan, leaving me extremely conflicted about the motivations of soldiers.
    c0up   Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2011
    <i>"For you its a movie, for them its a reality"</i> Documentary filmmaker Janus Metz and cameraman Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometer away from Taliban positions. <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on they have produced an increasing number of provocative war documentaries that have shattered many of the myths about the black-and-white absolutes of war that have often been sold to those on the home front. Armadillo is one of the best films yet produced about the reality of life during a war. The film follows a Danish unit assigned to Helmand Provence in Afghanistan during a 6 months tour. The filmmakers hold nothing back in this intimate portrait of soldiers at war. They present a picture of young men who seem to lose their humanity in the brutal circumstances of war. The visceral picture of combat is harrowing and the filmmakers should be commended for what they have captured on film. A film like Armadillo makes us ask ourselves if this war is worth the human cost that we are paying and what it is doing to the soldiers that we are sending to fight these wars. The film has caused considerable controversy in Denmark.
    Lorenzo v Super Reviewer

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