Oct 312010
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

As a collective whole, movies depicting the act of war have usually focused on ground troops or aerial combat. This is why last year’s best picture winner “The Hurt Locker” was such a pleasant surprise. It exposed the unfamiliar intensity that faced a bomb squad unit.  

“Lebanon” follows suit by highlighting more foreign territory with a group of soldiers dispatched in a tank during The First Lebanon War. The soldiers are young and in a little over their heads, unprepared for the horrors of war that befall them.   

Execution wise, the film plays out like a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare. Shots are limited inside the all too small confines of the tank and what is visible from the scope inside of the tank.  

The harsh realities of war emerge when initially the tank’s gunner can’t force himself to fire upon enemy troops. He has the enemy in his sights, but their faces become clearer to him as they approach. The gunner freezes up with compassion for his enemies as human beings, unable to take their lives.

“Lebanon” displays this reality well by having enemies look straight into the scope of the tank, piercing through any military detachment the soldiers might have experienced.  

The film’s subject matter was undeniably reminiscent of “Waltz With Bashir,” a movie that deals with The First Lebanon War with a more artistic and arresting tone. “Bashir” utilizes beautiful dream-like animation to augment the otherworldly vistas of destructive warfare, while “Lebanon’s” cold, industrialized feel shuts out much of the world around it.

Although the movie’s limitations inside the tank provide a dreadfully realistic view of tank warfare, they are also very taxing. By the end of the movie I felt somewhat fatigued from not only the space restrictions within the murky vehicle but also with the film as well.    

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:09 pm

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