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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Outpost is a war drama set in Afghanistan in 2009. Based on Jake Tapper's book, it tells the true story of a deadly attack on a U.S. Army outpost. Violence is bloody and intense, with lots of guns and shooting, explosions, death, extremely gory wounds, fighting, and other disturbing imagery (someone contemplating suicide, a dog getting shot, etc.). Language is also extremely strong, with constant use of words including "f--k," "c--ksucker," "s--t," "retard," and more. There's some pretty graphic sex-related dialogue, a naked male bottom, a man sniffing a woman's panties, and more. Characters smoke cigarettes, and there are references to smoking hash and a man with substance abuse issues. While the film isn't perfect, it does have impressive filmmaking, depicting the action in suspenseful yet harrowing and heartbreaking ways.
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What's the story?
In THE OUTPOST, which is based on a true story, a group of American soldiers is stationed at U.S. Army Combat Outpost Keating, located at the bottom of a valley in Nurestan Province in Afghanistan. Surrounded by mountains, the outpost is highly vulnerable to attacks, and the men fend off Taliban snipers on a daily basis while going through an ever-rotating selection of first lieutenants. In 2009, the Taliban launched everything they had at the outpost, resulting in the bloody Battle of Kamdesh. There were many casualties, and many lives were lost, but the bravery and heroism of staff sergeants Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood) and Ty Carter (Caleb Landry Jones) earned them both Medals of Honor.
Is it any good?
It has a few flaws typical of war movies, but this tense drama features an amazing, extended battle sequence that's harrowing yet coherent. It also has an appealingly hard, terse quality to its dialogue. That said, The Outpost -- which is based on journalist Jake Tapper's book -- has many characters, and, with the roving camera and identical military gear and helmets, it's often difficult to tell them apart. Director Rod Lurie tries to make up for this with an extended epilogue in which many of the real men who were there are interviewed, but that still doesn't provide much context. The movie also sometimes leans too far toward seriousness and honor, but fortunately it pulls back frequently enough.
The actual storytelling during the movie's first half focuses on little moments -- such as one scene involving a soldier admiring his girlfriend back home -- and the exchanges between characters have a classical snap, recalling "tough guy" war movies of the 1950s. The final half of The Outpost focuses on the big battle, with Lurie's camera darting and dodging between buildings and barriers, ducking bullets, and getting up to move again. These scenes are composed of several long, dynamic takes that capture the chaos and the action perfectly and with clarity. It's suspenseful but also horrifying and heartbreaking. Ultimately, this is a portrait of men in war whose top priority is to look out for one another.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is this an anti-war movie? Does it support the soldiers who served? How?
- On DVD or streaming: August 18, 2020
- Cast: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom
- Director: Rod Lurie
- Studio: Screen Media
- Genre: Drama
- Character strengths: Courage
- Run time: 123 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: war violence and grisly images, pervasive language, and sexual references
- Last updated: February 6, 2021
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