“Kajaki” – which was released as “Kilo Two Bravo” in the United States – is a movie that I stumbled across by accident one day. I’m glad I did.
The plot is based on the true story of a small unit of British soldiers that were posted near to the Kajaki dam in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2006.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but if you are expecting the traditional people running around with tracers flying everywhere, then this movie isn’t going to deliver that. Instead, what you get is a brilliantly acted and directed film that conveys, quite frankly, how war is.
And I suspect that is because that when this movie says it is based on actual events, it means it. A lot of films “based on actual events” play loosely with the reality and timings.
“Kajaki”, judging from the content, does not.
From the boredom to the way things can turn bad in a heartbeat, and from the shock and chaos to the dark humour and comradeship, this film gives an excellent portrayal of what it means to be a soldier.
What is particularly impressive is that most of this takes place in one spot, a wadi at the bottom of a ravine. If you think that sounds boring, you are very much mistaken.
If I have one warning to would-be viewers, it’s that the characters speak in the accents and slang of British soldiers. As a result, that can make the dialogue hard to follow for non-British watchers, and even for natives on occasion.
However, I think that even if you don’t understand a word of English, you’d understand the situation that the characters in the film are in, and the depth of the kinship between them.
Basically, if you want to see a film about war – not a war movie – watch Kajaki. I cannot recommend this film enough.
Ed Nash has spent years traveling around the world. Between June 2015 and July 2016 he volunteered with the Kurdish YPG in its battle against ISIS in Syria; his book on his experiences, Desert Sniper, was published by Little, Brown in September 2018.