This is the story of the final days of the Israeli occupation of Beaufort, a castle of great historical importance located within Lebanon and of the men who remained there.
Any film which looks to the Israel-Palestine conflict runs the risk of being labeled and called out as being one sided, historically inaccurate, or just plain unsympathetic. However this film manages to bypass most of those issues and looks to the individuals involved, the real people behind the Israeli soldiers and how humans deal with war.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the film are the performances. The actors give emotionally strong and incredibly believable performances. Between the script and their performances the audience is drawn to the individuals and you can easily empathise and connect with them.
I think this makes the film all the more accessible and powerful. Some may suggest that the film is one sided, as all we ever see are the Israeli soldiers, but I disagree.
The film pulls out the individual so well that we focus on the soldiers, the people, and it stops being about Israel and Palestine. In fact the enemy are never seen or really referred to in any other way than the dropping of mortars on the tired and confused troops.
What we actually see is a a very anti-war film which looks at the affect of prolonged fighting and war on the individual. If it weren't for the odd reference to the conflict you wouldn't even think about what war it was.
As we join the soldiers we find that they are expecting to be evacuated from the fort during the retreat from Lebanon, however their exit road has been booby trapped and a bomb disposal expert has arrived to help them clear the road.
We learn more about the characters, how they interact and what their daily routine consists of while they await the evacuation. All the while they are under constant bombardment by mortars, and soon by armour piercing missiles, and the constant threat of death.
Awaiting the call to retreat is a mixed blessing for the soldiers, as for some this has become a retreat from the rest of the world.
The film itself feels a little long, and perhaps a little cut might have helped the latter half. However it doesn't affect how engaging and at times dramatic the film can be.
It's well filmed with some gorgeous landscapes and the feeling of isolation always present.
As I said though, the big part of this film is down to the performances which are emotionally strong and very human allowing you to feel their confusion, anger and frustration throughout. When these very believable characters are affected by the battle around them it does paint a very worrying message of what war actually does to real people. A strong anti-war film indeed.