The Outpost tells the true story of the bloody fall of a remote US army base in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains. It suffers from problems common to many patriotic war dramas. While the there-but-for-the-grace-of-god moments of mortal terror and nope-not-for-me bravery are real and felt, there is blindness to the larger casualties, fearlessness and David-vs-Goliath valour on the other side of the conflict.
That aside, The Outpost is one of the best matter-of-fact depictions of modern battle to reach the screen in recent years. There is an overt commitment to realism, including a number of soldiers present at the doomed bastion’s last stand playing themselves. It comes as a surprise to learn the extent that simple and seamless VFX were deployed to realise both the setting and pyrotechnics on an impressively low $5M budget.
A standout performance from Caleb Landry Jones climaxes, or denouements, in a post-trauma psych evaluation scene. From here it looks like he is currently running unopposed to fill the space left by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.