Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Objective (2008)

Well, the director of The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick) has done it again.  He made another movie.  It's almost as good as Altered, the movie his co-writer and co-director (Eduardo Sanchez) from Blair Witch made.  Basically, what we got here is Aliens.  Only, it's told from the perspective of the Paul Reiser character.  Also, there ain't no fucking aliens in this thing.   Also, minimal action.  And, it takes place in the blighted deserts and mountains of Afghanistan.  Throw in some mysticism and some awkward performances and we've got ourselves a picture.  Still, it was all kind of...interesting.

Jonas Ball stars as CIA agent, Benjamin Keynes.  Keynes is in Afghanistan weeks after 9-11 under the guise of leading a mission to overthrow the Taliban.  He recruits a not-so special forces unit to aid in his mission.  Their goal is to find some Afghani cleric and record a statement from him that will apparently dissolve the Taliban.  Somehow.  Along the way, they pick up Abdul, an Afghani guide who will take them through the treacherous mountains.  Also, there's an Aussie in the unit for some reason.  And none of the troops look particularly fit.  The captain looks like Steve Austin after a year long bender and with a pasted on beard.   Still, I found myself captivated by this bullshit for some reason.

Keynes narrates the action in the drollest of monotones.  He's Fox Mulder on prozac.  He scans the horizon with his infra-red, and radiation detecting, equipment.  After a brief firefight leaves one of their men dead, and no enemy bodies, things get weird.  The mountains of Afghanistan hold many secrets.  Lights dance around the sky, compasses are useless, GPS systems fail, radio communication is fruitless, the water in their canteens is replaced with sand.  Keynes isn't opening up about anything.  His narration is using the present tense. We understand his survival is no guarantee.

I'm not sure where this thing was filmed (and I'm not about to look it up) but it seemed to use a pretty authentic location.  Could have been Death Valley for all I know.  The picture provides few answers and is the better for it.  We got weird triangles in the sky, men evaporating, guys jumping off cliffs and, in one case, some poor bastard wakes up to find himself nothing but guts and clothing (he didn't actually wake up, sorry for making it seem like he did).  I'm not sure what the picture is saying about the war in the Middle East.  I'm not sure it's saying anything.  We all know war is hell.  Sometimes you live.  Sometimes you get evaporated by a giant triangle in the sky. 

Well, if we are to believe the South Park mythos, what these guys were up against was none other than Moses and his army of macarroni pictures.  Of course, this is the real world and so South Park mythology gets thrown out the fucking window.  What we have here is something deeper than that.  Something involving satellite pictures of some weird mystical phenomenom in some Afghanistan mountain range.  Not sure if that phenomenon has anything to do with Osama Bin Laden, but that's who we were searching for in those mountains immediately after 9-11 went down.  Not these guys though.  Shit man, I think Muhammad shows up at the end.  Is it ok to have an actor portray him in shadow or is that shit a death sentence?  I don't know, but I hope Daniel Myrick lives long enough to make another movie.  This one wasn't bad.

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