Directed By: Richie Smyth
Starring: Jamie Dornan, Mark Strong
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 3.5/5 French Cognacs
Right let’s get this out-of-the-way, no I have not seen Beasts of No Nation and yes I know it’s probably the best Netflix produced film yet but I promise it’s on my to do list. However last night I saw my first Netflix produced movie. It’s without saying that Netflix have produced some fantastic material, they have both film and TV studios pissing their pants as they change the entertainment landscape. Naturally I was pretty excited to hear Netflix were producing a film based on the heroic story of Irish U.N peacekeepers who defended their post against near impossible odds for five days. As a fan of war films I was pumped, as an Irish man I was ecstatic.
What makes the story of the Siege of Jadotville so fascinating is the abysmal treatment of the Irish soldiers after the battle. Instead of awarding these brave men medals and a massive homecoming, both the U.N and Irish Army brushed their story under the rug and shamed these men. It took forty-four years for the soldiers to finally be honoured. A disgrace if you ask me.
This is director Richie Smyth’s film debut, who previously directed music videos. While certainly not a groundbreaking debut, Smyth shows some veteran competencies and a keen eye for explosive action scenes. The Siege of Jadotville certainly lives up to its name with over half it’s run time taking place during the siege. It is by far the film’s strong point and it’s really well crafted and heart stoppingly intense, my hats off to Smyth as he manages to keep an hour-long battle scene from going stale.
What doesn’t fare so well is the scenes outside the battle. These scenes follow Mark Strong playing a slimy and conniving Irish U.N official who seeks to further his own agenda than to help his fellow country men. Strong’s character is a little too cartoonishly evil and his Irish accent just sounded like his usual accent with an Irish tinge (it’s an accent that has seen many great actors make utter gobshites out of themselves. The dialogue during these scenes is far too expositional with every character spelling out their intentions and motivations. However the film does do a pretty good job of briefly describing the bullshit of politics behind war.
Jamie Dornan proves himself again to be a great leading man as he barks orders (albeit in a shaky Cork accent) and sneers in the face of danger. An interesting aspect of the film is that all the Irish troops have no battle experience, “War virgins” as Dornan’s Pat Quinlan calls them so it’s interesting seeing Dornan play and inexperienced commander. Dornan may be most well know for 50 Shades of Grey but he’s a solid actor with a bright future ahead of him.
The Siege of Jadotville is a solid war film that delivers thrilling battle scenes with a few neat tricks up its sleeves. Hindered by an uninspired side-plot, these moments are short-lived as Smyth focuses his craft more for the spectacle. The Siege of Jadotville is now streaming on Netflix and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to kill two hours.