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Lebanon
BLU-RAY disk
Feb 23, 2011 By: Johnny Moreno
Lebanon order
Director:
Samuel Maoz

Actors:
Yoav Donat
Itay Tiran
Oshri Cohen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
During the 1982 Israeli-Lebanon war, a group of young Israeli soldiers are tasked to search a hostile town and make it through to a safe rendezvous point. As with most war movies, the simplest tasks often become complicated and result in an array of bullets and bad feelings.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Things feel very familiar for the first third of Lebanon. You have war, young soldiers, and their uncertainty about the mission and safety. When I think of some of my favorite war movies, these are the three elements that are commonplace, especially the element of uncertainty. In my opinion, there is nothing more frightening than being in the midst of war with the idea that your superiors arent 100% certain that the objective is clear. Being attacked by a mountain lion comes in a close second of my biggest fear, but Ill punch a mountain lion in its face, you cant punch a bullet in its face.

Most of the flick takes place inside a tank and Lebanon relies, and succeeds on this: placing the viewer in a tense and claustrophobic situation. The four young soldiers are manning the tank, inexperienced and incapable of full peripheral view which lends to their and our uneasiness when shit starts going down. Their main point of contact outside of the tank is a hardass superior who expects the soldiers to act on orders and keep their composure, which sometimes they try hard but fail to do. The interaction between the four soldiers in the tank is tense. They seem like they want to do their jobs well, but the reality of war and their entire enrollment in the army is starting to weigh on them, making them irritable and subject to snapping on each other.

The performances by the four men are nothing short of solid. While each soldier collectively wants to get the job done, each man has their own fear and hang-ups about the job they are doing. The fact that its based on the filmmakers own experience (a fact I didnt know and appreciate until after seeing the movie), is even more impressive. The one thing I really loved and found unique about Lebanon is that the combat sequences are viewed through the crosshairs of the tanks cannon. Any action that happens outside of the tank is viewed through the crosshairs, making the connection with the audience stronger and relatable. A lot of the times you feel vulnerable and disoriented because of this and along with the performances, its probably Lebanons strongest asset.
THE EXTRAS
Notes on a War Film - Making of Documentary. Also in subtitles, which I was happy about.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Lebanon has received some accolades and won some awards, all definitely well deserved. Its a gritty and tense war drama, harnessed with some fantastic performances and shot in an almost traditional way, i.e, not so spastic with quick cuts and a shaky cam that seems so prevalent nowadays. The tension builds, subsides, ebbs and flows into a satisfying conclusion, and really what more can you ask for?
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11:16PM on 02/23/2011

A truly inspiring bit of filmmaking.

I watched this as soon as it was on DVD & thought it was excellently done. Just the way the film was shot was quite brilliant & it made it even better by the solid performances you mentioned. I bet we'll see more of this director in the future. Imagine what he'd be able to do w/a decent budget.
I watched this as soon as it was on DVD & thought it was excellently done. Just the way the film was shot was quite brilliant & it made it even better by the solid performances you mentioned. I bet we'll see more of this director in the future. Imagine what he'd be able to do w/a decent budget.
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