BLOODY WARFARE: Travis Fimmel plays Major Harry Smith with Aaron L McGrath as Private Brian Hornung await a crucial ammunition drop in Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan.

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

  • War action; Cert R13, contains violence and offensive language; 1hr 58mins
  • Starring: Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Daniel Webber, Anthony Hayes and Alex England
  • Director: Kriv Stenders

IN one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War, 108 men from Royal Australian Regiment, 6th Battalion D Company faced an estimated 3000 Viet Cong soldiers.

Eighteen Australians were killed in the Battle of Long Tan on August 18, 1966. Watching this dramatisation of the battle, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, it seems like more.

But then, I wasn’t counting. I was too caught up in the drama, violence and intricacies of battle. Danger Close has been compared to American movie Platoon. As Vietman War movies go, it certainly has enough impact to take its place amongst the genre’s must watch movies.

Apparently there were three Kiwis in among these Anzac troops, and more providing part of the artillery support that was crucial to the outcome of the battle, though don’t go along hoping to see any reference to them. This is very much an Australian film.

Never mind, we know they are there and this intensely dramatic movie will ensure this battle, the most instense experienced by Anzac troops since the Korean War, will never be forgotten.

Directed Kriv Stenders, best known for 2011 Aussie classic, Red Dog, begins the film in the middle of the bombardment of Nui Dat base. Other than a brief respite for a performance an entertainment troop, featuring Australian surf-pop singer Little Pattie (Emmy Dougall), the action is relentless.

After the initial engagement with ground forces the gunfire is almost constant, punctured only by the eeriest of silences, which generally precede the Viet Cong soldiers unleashing a hail of bullets.

This film is a tribute to the soldier’s extreme bravery, displayed most powerfully by the men’s willingness to show utter disrespect for direct orders.

Travis Fimmel’s Major Harry Smith, who headed D Company, makes the decision to keep his men in the field rather than abandon possible survivors of a troop that is out of radio contact. Telling his commanding officer to get f**ked he demands an ammunition dump, which a pilot defies orders to carry out.

Stenders managed to keep this viewer in the loop as to what was happening without talking down to my ignorance of warcraf.

9/10

diane.mccarthy@thebeacon.co.nz

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