Kajaki Movie 2014 Scene Paratroopers guarding a wounded soldier in Afghanistan

Kajaki [2014]

If you think that Kajaki, a British indie war movie is going to be like its American counterparts, think again. This is a harrowing, realistic, and almost too intense experience that will leave you traumatized. Actually, at the initial test screening, director Paul Katis, was distraught over the audience not saying a word after the movie was over. He thought they didn’t like it when in fact they were still trying to come to terms with what they saw. Everything sort of clicked with this one and we got a freaking masterpiece.

If you’re wondering why you should watch a movie as fucked up as Kajaki, there’s no right answer. First of all, it’s different from all other war movies and in that sense it kind of reminded me of The Beast of War. Kajaki also follows a group of soldiers trying to survive their deployment to Afghanistan. Secondly, it’s truly a unique and immersive experience that will make you feel like you’re right there. And sure, once you’re there you would want to get the fuck out but it’s too late for that. There will be a fair amount of graphic scenes just so you know.

Thirdly, it doesn’t glorify war, violence, or anything like that. It shows just how nasty, brutal and traumatic it all of those things really are. And it doesn’t matter if you got out of there in one piece because your experiences will be with you ’till the day you die. Finally, it’s based on the true story of the Kajaki Dam incident. This means the characters we’re going to meet are real raising the level of intensity even further. The cast did a phenomenal job of bringing them to life and by the end of the movie, you will feel like you know them.

I especially liked Mark Stanley’s and Scott Kyle’s performances but everybody else also gave it all they got. I sometimes feel that when playing real characters, actors go that extra mile in an effort to honor them. The shoot was quite grueling with temperatures oftentimes exceeding 50 degrees Celsius (122°F). And although I said this is an indie film do not think that it’s going to look bad. The cinematography, camerawork, and all the other technical details were top-notch.

After all this, I should tell you that Kajaki isn’t all doom and gloom. There’s a surprising amount of humor in this movie as I’m sure was during the real incident. Sometimes the reality is so fucked up you have to lighten it up with something. Plus, it’s a good way to keep the morale up and survive the damn thing. It didn’t feel forced or contrived but very natural. Maybe because these are British lads so their delivery of the cheeky banter was authentic.

It is the year of our lord Ares 2006 and the war in Afghanistan is soon going to enter its sixth year. The British paratroopers deployed to guard the Kajaki dam are hoping to get it up and running soon. Mostly because it can provide the much-needed electricity to the whole valley. The days are all pretty much the same with several small skirmishes with the Taliban. However, on the 6th September, the lads are about to face a new danger that will put all their skills to the test.

I don’t want to reveal what’s going to happen in this movie because I want you to go into it blind. We will spend the first thirty minutes getting to know the lads and then all hell is going to break loose. And from that moment on, the atmosphere becomes really intense and uncomfortable. I still cannot believe they managed to keep it so intense for such a long period of time.

On a personal note, I have to tell you that I did see this movie a couple of years ago. And then I forgot everything about it. I mean, I knew how the action starts and that there was this medic character I liked but that’s it. Everything else was purged from the records. So, I sat down last night and watched it again and it was just as fucked up as the first time. But you need to see it and not just because it’s woefully underrated.

Director: Paul Katis

Writer: Tom Williams

Cast: Mark Stanley, David Elliot, Scott Kyle, Paul Luebke, Malachi Kirby, Liam Ainsworth

Fun Facts: The movie was shot in Jordan.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3622120/

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