The woods outside of Salem, Oregon might be the last place one might expect to see a re-enactment of a Vietnam war battle, but for a dedicated band of weekend warrior brothers (many of who are actual veterans of foreign wars from Vietnam to Iraq) in Delta Company 2/5, it’s a way for many to experience everything they personally love about warfare without actually going to war.
Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara’s hypnotically beautiful looking, slyly funny, and never condescending look at people who want the brotherhood of being in a platoon and feeling important without actually entering into a war with no purpose contains a lot of vivid, sympathetic characters and a couple of creepy ones to balance it all out (most tellingly the creepiest ones are the ones with no actual combat experience or clue what the heck actually happened in the 1960s).
Attie and O’Hara also wonderfully give the film’s recreated battle sequences some degree of tension and stakes. Through impeccable sound design, cinematography that recalls The Thin Red Line as an obvious point of reference, and the use of archival footage to blend actual fact from the fiction of their subjects (as well as their own true and often far worse life experiences and fears), the film lulls the viewer into a false sense of confidence to make the faked, blank firing shenanigans seem real and not awkward.
Sunday, April 27th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 12:30pm
Friday, May 2nd, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 6:30pm