A compelling and well-constructed anti-war film, that feels ahead of its time specially with the sociopolitical situation in the middle east. It was Israel's Academy Award entry for best foreign film in 1986, and was described by Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Industry and Commerce back then as "a self-destructive portrait of inept Jews".
The narrative traces the surreal journey of two Egyptian soldiers crossing the Sinai desert to reach the Egyptian lines beyond Suez Canal, following the defeat of the Egyptian forces in the Six-Day war in 1967 and the subsequent chaotic retreat.
Being born and raised in Egypt, the obvious issue I found with the film from the outset was the Arabic accent/dialect used by the Egyptian soldiers' characters, and their expressions of fear and surprise, and while this might not make a great difference for the foreign viewer, the second drawback with the dialogues of the two soldiers, which felt too bland and obvious and quite theatrical at times, was sometimes a letdown, specially with the well-written situations where a good dialogue would have been a big addition.
But apart from that, good cinematography that fully utilised the desert background, and interesting sequences specially towards the end, of the encounter between Egyptian soldiers and their Israeli counterparts, made it a worthwhile experience. The powerful humane message of the film and the interesting setting definitely make the film worth checking out for foreign film fans.
One of the best British film productions of the year, along with Pride, and the biopics of Turner, Turing and Hawking. I watched this film in London Film Festival 2014 where it had a very good reception.
The intense action-packed narrative follows a British soldier's behind-enemy-lines entrapment over a single night during the riots at Belfast in 71. With breathtaking action sequences and thrilling moments in the deadly streets of Belfast, the film did a very good job in conveying the sense of isolation; being on the run for most of the film time with continuous sheer intensity. However, I had the feeling afterwards that the film could have reached greater heights with more depth for the side stories and supporting characters, one of which was the Irish doctor who saves the soldier's life at some point. A bit of that and more background information could have turned it into an classic that lingered in the minds long after leaving the theatre, and possibly made some of the audience reconsider their stances on what's happening around them.
A compelling performance from the leading actor Jack O'Connell deserves praise, as well as the editing of the action sequences. A film that is definitely worth watching for fans of the genre and those interested in the history of civil conflicts, and a promising debut feature film for its director Yann Demange.