Army&You asked three of our readers to review Kajaki: The True Story, depicting the dramatic real-life events involving members of 3 Para on patrol in Afghanistan.
“Before I watched this film my husband told me about what happened at Kajaki Dam and I’m glad he did. This movie is an incredible piece of film work. From location, to casting, to cinematography, it’s a gripping and extremely accurate portrayal of squaddie life.
“You can really believe that the actors you are watching are actual soldiers – their representation of squaddie banter, humour and camaraderie is 100 per cent accurate. The 2006 events occurred in a relatively small area and the film reflects this, with most of the scenes in one barren location, but it doesn’t lose its pace at all. The monotony of routine duties, the time-filling games, the luxury of post and parcels; all this builds authenticity for the place, the soldiers and their roles. I was drawn into their lives.
“In fact, I was so involved with the film that I jumped when the first landmine detonated, and again when the second and subsequent ones exploded. It’s a realistic and excellent film-production of a horrific event, and a film which I thoroughly enjoyed.”
“Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, patrol to prevent an illegal vehicle check point; when one stands on a mine, every subsequent step is a potentially fatal one. The gallows humour is effective when death is only a millimetre away; they are intent on their fight for survival.
“The portrayal of the men is brutally realistic, authentic and traumatic. It’s difficult to watch (as an Army spouse) the devastation of their intense experience when they are fearless and powerless, but also the tender moments when they focus on their families, home and their selfless commitment towards each other. It’s a powerful film about people who risk their lives daily for the good of others and demonstrates the sacrifices these soldiers and many others have made for their country.”
Mark Gibbins served for almost 29 years in the Royal Navy as a weapons engineer. He’s a big fan of the movie having already seen it three times at the cinema.
“The opening sequence exposes the audience to the mundane routines, staggered guard duty (stag), heat and military humour all of which lures us into a false sense of security.
“Director Paul Katis and screenwriter Tom Williams time the introduction of the main incident to perfection. A three man patrol has strayed into an unmarked minefield. Lance Corporal Hale leading the patrol detonates a mine; the call is made, ‘minestrike’ which triggers a hazardous rescue mission, then all hell breaks out.
“Kajaki is a difficult and gruesome movie to watch depicting painfully tense and brutal scenes, whilst portraying outstanding bravery. The relatively unknown cast do a superb job at portraying an incredibly gritty and realistic set of events. They have captured the surreal black humour perfectly and make very convincing squaddies. This is a must see movie that will stay with you for weeks after viewing.”