Armadillo 2010

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(18) IMDb 7.6/10
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Armadillo is an upfront account of growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction for young soldiers at war. Mads and Daniel are serving their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Talebans. The soldiers are there to help the Afghans, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly hairy, Mads, Daniel and their friends becomes cynical widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilisation. Mistrust and paranoia set in causing alienation and disillusion. Armadillo is a journey into the soldier’s minds and a unique film on the mythological story of man and war, staged in its contemporary version in Afghanistan.

Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 40 minutes
Director Janus Metz Pedersen
Genres Documentary
Studio ELEVATION SALES
Rental release 13 June 2011
Main languages Danish

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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Philip on 25 May 2011
Format: DVD
I served as a medic in a FOB less than three miles from what was then FOB Armadillo, under the command of a successor Danish battalion during the winter of 2010-11 and therefore awaited the British release of this documentary with great anticipation.

It did not disappoint.

The director gives a realistic portrayal of what it is like to be deployed in that part of the world - he does not draw out the drama, he does not labour the fighting, but instead, also shows the boredom and the burning desire for action that any soldier on his first tour can relate to. The documentary explores this theme in some depth and you see the Danish soldiers explain how they frankly yearn to be tested, they yearn for the excitement of combat and fear going home without having experienced it and the frustration of boring routine patrols. You also see the fear and the adrenaline during the fire fights and the rush and exultation back in the FOB at having survived it and won. This is how it was with my unit and these scenes struck a big chord. This balance runs, I think, through the documentary and you are allowed to make your own mind up about the people and events you see in it.

The cinematography is almost too good so that sometimes you feel like you are watching fiction but to my mind this is true to what I experienced out there, you experience things so extreme and so alien to our western lives that it honestly feels like you are in a bad film. Therefore, this blurring of the fiction and non-fiction line powerfully conveys that feeling: fact does mirror fiction and you do experience, see and hear things that you would wince to see in film script.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul on 7 Dec 2011
Format: DVD
I could detail the goings on, the tears prior to departure to the jubilation on completion but I will leave that for the viewing. It would be alien to most and may well misrepresent the true nature of this film if I were to give my version of the story. Instead, I will tell you this, it is a first hand account filmed almost entirely by helmet cam, with such a superb soldiers perspective, rarely portrayed as clearly as this. An insight into how the tenacious Afghanis view these modern crusaders and the value of life and property to them. The resultant feelings mirrored by these fine Danish lads as they meet the day to day challenge of staying alive and hunting the Taliban. Eat, sleep, fight and praying together; there is no other film like this. You must see it just for the varied view and outlook and the fact that there are so few films made about this war. The only aspect missing is smell, and frankly I'm pleased about that. This is a Graphic first hand account of life on the front line in this decade long conflict, told in the Danish tongue with subtitles. I would rate this alongside Das Boot, 9th company and Stalingrad, a must see.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jun 2011
Format: DVD
******** CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS ********

"Armadillo" has quite rightly been described as visceral, and about as close to war as you are likely to get without actually being shot at. Even to the combatants it must all seem a bit surreal at times. I remember one soldier describing combat in that other hard hitting recent war documentary "This is War" as being "Like training but with real targets". Spookily enough the soldiers are showing playing 'shooter computer games' in "Armadillo". They of course soon find to their cost that real bullets are indeed being fired in their direction. It is a pity that this film has come out in the wake of Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's "Restrepo" and the aforementioned "This is War", which with the help of modern filming techniques have taken the viewer closer than ever before to the real front line. In this case to within one kilometer of the Taliban positions in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Close enough for some all too real action! Perhaps because of these other good films it has been a little overlooked at this time.

In the film documentary filmmaker Janus Metz and his indefatigable cameraman Lars Skree follow a group of Danish soldiers from the news of their initial deployment in Denmark, to their front line duties based at Army Base Armadillo, Helmand Province, Afghanistan for 6 months in 2009. It is to be a long six months for the soldiers. For those with an aversion to subtitles, be warned that most of this film is in Danish. The film highlights so many of the problems that soldiers based in Afghanistan face. The Taliban often merge with the civilian population making target identification very difficult, and the risk of non combatant casualties high.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. P. Allen on 10 Mar 2011
Format: DVD
I find it amazing that Restrepo has a wealth of people reviewing it yet very few seem to have watched this film.

For me the most impressive part was the fact that they didn't shy away from showing the true realities of war. When people got wounded or killed, they showed you in full detail. I really think it's important when making a war documentary not to sanitise events as in this way you gain a greater understanding of what the soldiers actually experience themselves.

There is also a very good narrative, from their time when they start serving to meeting relatives when they arrive home. You get to see some of the people the soldiers have been talking about so fondly.

Would highly recommend.
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