IFC Midnight’s “Alien Outpost” is a visceral, on-the-ground perspective on combat

Caught this 2014 movie on Netflix tonight, and I’m very glad I didn’t pass it by. It uses a documentary style to relate the last days of Outpost 37, a United Space Defense Force base of operations in Pakistan whose soldiers are tasked with decreasing the remnants of the Heavy invasion (Heavies are the aliens) that attacked Earth. Humans were able to fight off the attack, but many alien combatants were left behind when the Heavy space fleet retreated.

Having served in the US Army, I found the special effects and combat scenes quite effective. I was fortunate to not see combat during my time in service, but I’ve heard enough stories from combat veterans  and recall enough of basic training and field exercises to know when it’s done poorly on film. This movie did nearly everything right, given that it’s an indie film and the budget likely wasn’t very large.

The characters are all people I recognize from my Army days, which means the script writers did their homework, something for which I’m grateful whenever I see it. War is a nasty business, and the troops on the ground always see the worst of any conflict. The actors did very good work, neither overdoing nor underdoing their roles; they looked and behaved like real soldiers. That’s what drew me in and kept me watching; in the short time the film ran, I cared about what happened to the characters. Credit the script, the director and the actors for that — they all did their jobs well.

It’s an intense film. For those who have been in combat, it may be triggering; watch with caution. The rest of us can enjoy an absorbing story acted by professionals that kinda grabs you by the neck and doesn’t let go — not even at the very end. Highly recommended.

 

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