Another solid original film from Netflix.
“THE SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE” is set in the early 60’s and follows a group of Irish soldiers sent to Congo by the newly created UN to serve as peacekeepers. While protecting the small mining town of Jadotville they find themselves under attack from French led mercenaries, and having never experienced battle, the group will have to dig deep and work together as a unit to survive.
Netflix hits it out of the park with this time-period war drama based on true events. From the casting, locations, writing, down to the direction, this was a surprisingly capable film. It does an effective job of telling this real story about a group of Irish soldiers finding themselves in their first battle. It effectively conveys the wide range of emotions they go through as they face off against waves of attacks. The story builds the unity of the group and the determination they showed while trying to survive a situation they weren’t supposed to be in, and the result was very intriguing.
The casting was excellent; and while Jamie Dornan may be known for being the whip slinging sex freak in “50 Shades of Grey,” he was every bit the part of a platoon commandant in this film. Dornan delivers a nice arc to his character and his delivery of the dialogue was inspiring, much like it should have been for the character he played. He created a realistic feel to a man who had never faced battle, but was ready to if it called. He commanded his team with respect and creates a likable character you want to get behind. The conflict of the decisions his character would make were conveyed excellently by Dornan as well, which helped build the tension of the situation.
Mark Strong, Jason O’Mara and Guillaume Canet were all great as well. In particular O’Mara who was second in command. He was intense in his portrayal and created a realistic chemistry with Dornan given the scenarios the script threw at them.
The story-line was filled with tension once the rapport of the group is created in the first-act. From there it really never lets up and builds suspense throughout. The stories depth was a pleasant surprise and with a more subtly, this movie delivers a slight blockbuster feel during the battle sequences. The action was violent, but not overly violent. This film was able to create very intense battle scenes capturing all the violence and danger of the situation, but did so without all the blood and gore, which enables this film to be enjoyed by a much wider range of audiences.
The quality of the battles was also much better than expected. They were filmed on location, used a lot of practical effects and created impactful sequences that completely pulled me in. The direction very good by first time director Richie Smyth. He used a simple approach, did not over style it, and the result was a film that pulls you into the story and settings, delivering the wanted impact to its fullest.
If you are looking for something on Netflix, “The Siege of Jadotville” is certainly worth the time. I had no idea this film would grade so high but for what it was, and the story it told, the result was highly intriguing.
Time: 108 min