The Patrol Review

• May 6, 2014

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by Joe Langham | @JoeLang92

Written and directed by ex-Army officer Tom Petch, The Patrol takes a piercing look at the conflict in Afghanistan through the eyes of a British Army patrol.

If you are looking for an action-packed and glamorised war film full of explosions, heroism and valiancy then you will not find that in The Patrol. What you will get is an honest portrayal of the war in Afghanistan that leaves you wondering whether there is any point in the war in the first place.

The Patrol has the feel of a documentary and that is not really surprising since the film was created from real accounts of British Army experiences in Afghanistan. The Patrol seems as though the in-film patrol are being followed by a cameraman. This naturalistic feel is most likely down to Petch’s painstaking research that went into the films creation. He researched everything from the tactics used in the specific war, the weaponry and other equipment and even the language used by the soldiers there.

The film is highly political, taking an anti Afghan war standpoint, and particularly puts forward the question of the role of the British soldiers out there. The army patrol is left isolated and out of the loop throughout the film, without support from the US Army. They are left fighting blindly whilst coming under periodical attack from an unseen enemy and even ‘friendly’ troops.

The combination of a short supply of poor equipment and a lack of purpose cause morale to plummet and tempers to fray as the film progresses and the frustrations of the patrol are brilliantly evoked throughout.

The film has a small but talented cast which includes Nav Sidhu (Edge of Heaven) as Smudge, Daniel Fraser (Lab Rats, Scar Tissue) as Lieutenant Jonathan Bradshaw and Nicholas Beveney (Funland) as Sergeant ‘Sol’ Campbell to name but a few. The cast have varied acting experience, yet this is not evident and each character puts in a performance as good as one another. They succeed at playing believable characters with refined performances.

The Patrol is a personal portrayal of war coming from someone who knows it best: a soldier. Tom Petch’s feature film debut is a brave but brilliant one. The films 80 minute run time is more than enough to get its message across and will stick in your mind for much longer.

The Patrol is out now on DVD, RRP £17.99, or currently a £9 bargain online at Amazon.

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