Richie Smyth / Jamie Dornan, Mark Strong, Mikael Persbrandt / Action / 2016 / 15 / 108mins
In a nutshell, The Siege of Jadotville is an Irish film about Irish soldiers in the first Irish conflict that was forgotten about by Irish people. Incredibly, the filmmakers still manage to feck it up.
The real Siege of Jadotville was a typically awful war fuckup – Irish soldiers were deployed in action for the first time in the island nation’s history as part of the UN Peacekeeping envoy during the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. Commandant Pat Quinlan (Jamie Dornan) was the plucky man in charge, intent to prove the doubters wrong and stake a claim for Irish pride on the global warfare stage.
Unfortunately for him, the time of their deployment couldn’t have been worse. The UN leader at the time, Dag Hammarskjold, was in a plane that was shot down, leaving the UN in chaos and the Irish in a bit of a pickle – the UN couldn’t send backup, and the local Katangese and mercenary forces didn’t particularly like them. You can see where this is heading…
So now we’ve gotten over the surprisingly complicated politics (which is rashly brushed over in the film) we can focus on the criticism. It’s a cheaply made film, and noticeably so. If I recall correctly there is a Wilhelm Scream so poorly used for a killed soldier that I actually laughed out loud. The editing in general is shoddy – we get random plot points sequenced together in an incoherent manner that’s just annoying. The acting by the local Belgian heiress was pathetic. In fact, the first 40 minutes deserved to be burned and then burned again. A complete waste of time.
The action, meanwhile, was creditable, even if the explosions did look like fireworks. Jamie Dornan is by far the only actor worth a mention. God knows why Mark Strong is here – he must have had an offer he couldn’t refuse. In terms of style, the attempts to evoke a Zulu-esque feel aren’t hidden. The African setting and colour palette, the desperation of the men, the patriotism; it’s enough to make you donate to the Poppy Appeal a whole month before November. However, it’s a vibe I appreciate.
The premise is simple – a historical war film with a ‘based on a true story’ tag line that, despite not personally knowing that this mini-war happened, still seems bloated and ludicrous. Netflix really let go here – this has nothing on their other African war film Beasts of No Nation (which was undoubtedly one of the best films of 2015). A boring B-movie that offers little fun.
Film as a Film – 1 / Target Audience – 3 / General Audience – 1
The Siege of Jadotville is on Netflix
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This film poster was taken from Netflix and was used to promote the film.
The film poster copyright is believed to be held by the film distributor, Netflix, or the graphic artist.