If you fused Black Hawk Down with Tropic Thunder and gave it a French makeover, the result might be something close to Special Forces. Director Stéphane Rybojad has managed to produce a gripping and at times humorous film, centred around a French journalist who is captured by the Taliban in Pakistan.
The central character – Elsa – is portrayed by accomplished German actress Diane Kruger, well known for her roles in Inglorious Bastards and Troy. Elsa finds herself in imminent danger as the result of breaking a story concerning the Taliban’s involvement with a woman who was sold to a man as a child. She is soon abducted by Taliban leader Ahmed Zaief, and a French Special Forces unit is sent to rescue her. The head of the unit is played by Djimon Hounsou of Gladiator and Blood Diamond fame. Director Rybojad manages to seamlessly weave the exchanges of the well-humoured soldiers throughout the narrative, effectively adding some light to the very dark reality of the subject of war.
Kruger and Hounsou both possess a strong onscreen charisma that allows this powerful, moving and heartfelt film to come to life. The heartlessness of war only acts to highlight the strength, courage and bravery displayed by the characters within the film. The exhilarating soundtrack and pumped-up action sequences ensured that I was kept on the edge of my seat from the first frame. I enjoyed how the soundtrack developed to a powerful score just as the characters are faced with one of their greatest challenges yet – escape.
Special Forces – a story of survival while trapped behind enemy lines. Are there ever any real winners in war?
Special Forces, premieres at 8.30pm tonight Thurs 20 Feb as part of WM Premiere.