Kajaki: The True Story (2014)
***No plot spoilers***
I had to interrupt my A-Z Challenge for this outstanding film. Also known as ‘Kilo Two Bravo’, this recent British film looks at the real life events experienced by a patrol of British paratroops, in Afghanistan in 2006. With a cast of unknown actors in the main, the authenticity of this film can be felt right from the opening scenes. I have seen a lot of war films in my long life, and this is undoubtedly one of the best.
Manning an outpost overlooking the Kajaki Dam, a company of the 3rd Batallion, The Parachute Regiment, are living a fairly dull existence. Routine observation, collecting supplies, and swimming in the dam take up a lot of their time. Then one night, they notice Taliban activity in the area below, and resolve to investigate, the next morning. A patrol sets off, on what is to be a routine mission, on the other side of the valley. After descending a goat track, they arrive at the cover of a dusty wadi, and proceed to walk through it. One of the team steps on a mine, and is seriously injured.
The patrol call for help, and it soon arrives. More troops and a medic show up, and they call for helicopter evacuation too. But there are mines everywhere, (presumably left behind by the Russians) and very soon, other members of the group are injured. When the promised helicopter eventually arrives, it does more harm than good, as the down-draught disturbs even more mines, and further explosions follow. By this time, I was completely gripped, and literally on the edge of my seat. (Sofa) Despite the lateness of the hour, I just knew that I would continue to watch.
I cannot praise this exceptional film highly enough. There is no fire-fight, no contact with the enemy, and all the action surrounds the desperate situation of the small group of soldiers trapped in that minefield. This is a film about courage, endurance, real bravery, and indomitable human spirit, in the face of horrifying events. The cast is superb, and the prosthetics used to simulate the injuries have never been bettered. I worked as an EMT for 22 years, and I was overwhelmed by the accuracy of the terrible injuries depicted in this film.
I guarantee that you will be also be gripped, and consumed by emotion, when watching this devastating film, even if you would not normally watch a ‘war film’. It will show you something of the indomitable human spirit that you would never have witnessed, unless you have been in a similar situation. During the closing credits, they feature the actual soldiers involved, and give an account of their fate, and what happened next. I was profoundly moved, and I cannot ever forget the impact that this film has had on me. I urge you to watch it, to realise just what happened, and to look behind the ‘casualty lists’.