Kilo Two Bravo
By Kelly Crigger
SPOLIER ALERT!!! PLOT POINTS OF THE MOVIE WILL BE REVEALED.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!
Kilo Two Bravo captures the brotherhood of war better than any combat movie ever.
That’s a bold statement from a 24-year veteran and cinephile, but it’s true. This is not your average war film. In fact it’s not like anything ever made, which is why it’s so moving and I can boldly say nothing has ever truly captured the essence of what it’s like to be a combat soldier better. In a world of mediocre military movies that most veterans scoff at, this is an extraordinary portrayal of troops doing, saying, and feeling exactly what troops do, say, and feel. Kilo Two Bravo stays with you long after the credits roll and makes old soldiers pine for the days of being out there just one more time.
Kilo Two Bravo is the true story of a British Paratrooper squad caught in a minefield for several hours outside Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan in 2006. Rather than make some long-winded diatribe on the rights or wrongs of war, the producers made an incredibly personal film about the powerful camaraderie of men in severe distress. And not just ordinary men, but strong men – British Paratroopers – who faced such immense adversity that they were pushed to the limits of human endurance when not only was your own life on the line, but the lives of the men you respected and loved as brothers. It’s a point-blank look at what it’s like to be part of something bigger than yourself in a small, life-changing situation. And that is why it’s so moving for anyone who has never been in combat and simply fucking impossible to forget for anyone who has.
The main character is Paul “Tug” Hartley, a medic assigned to 3 Para. For us non-Brits, 3 Para is the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, a storied unit whose history is undeniably bloody and distinguished. Tug, who was the first to write about that day, talked to the Rhino Den about the cathartic experience of telling the Kilo Two Bravo story…
“Ten magnificent soldiers chose to enter that minefield knowing the danger it posed,” he says. “Four of us were given gallantry awards for our actions and I believed it was time for the others to gain the recognition for the heroic efforts. We went through about 15 scripts until every soldier who was there that day agreed with the final outcome. Plus the military advisers they had on set, Luke Hardy and Hugh Kier, were both ex-3 Para and served on our tour and were also personal friends with a lot of the blokes so we knew they would not let us or the battalion down.”
Kilo Two Bravo is not a Michael Bay film. There are no Transformers, superheroes, massive earthquakes, or (SPOILER ALERT) huge battle scenes. There are no Dwayne Johnsons, Brad Pitts, or Expendables. No bleach blondes, damsels in distress, or gratuitous boob shots. There’s not even a single note of music and that’s one reason it’s so fucking good. The eerie silence keeps you engaged throughout and the tension is palpable. You get behind the hero, Tug, and his insanely brave crusade to save his buddies and sit on the edge of your seat, drooling over popcorn and soda, begging for him to find a way.
The storytelling of Kilo Two Bravo is patient and reverent. It’s not the typical three-act structure you’re used to seeing when you go to a theater. It’s intimate, immediate, and ugly, but that also means it’s not for everyone. If you appreciate a gritty, personal, somewhat slow tale about unbreakable men trying not to break as they go through hell together then this is for you. It’s especially honorable for (SPOILER ALERT) the one man who perished that day, Lance Corporal Mark Wright. Wright is depicted as intelligent, brave, and absolutely dedicated to his men, a notion Hartley echoes.
“Mark [Wright] was and always will be the bravest man I have ever seen, worked with, and had the privilege to call a friend. And by allowing the film to be made it has immortalized his efforts that day.”
Ironically, I was in the JOC at Bargam Airfield the day this happened. I can’t say I remember every detail because there were several other operations going on that day (SPOILER ALERT), which is one reason the 3 Para hell lasted longer than it should have, but I remember it. I was sort-of there as my British Liaison Officer worked frantically to find a solution to the problem while I was more concerned with other things, so this story resounds personally with me. But beyond that, Kilo Two Bravo is simply an amazing story told in an amazing way. I’ve seen every war movie there is to see and this one stuck with me more than all of them.
“Can I add…”
Yes, Tug. Of course you can.
“The film has been a great success in the fact one bloke has rejoined the Army and it has brought us all back together. A family was born that day from acts of great heroism and courage from everyone who was there. Everyone has been given a chance to showcase their own individual efforts.”
Thanks brother. Cheers to you and yours for your service and the making of an incredibly moving film.
Check out Kilo Two Bravo here – http://www.kilotwobravomovie.com