Danger Close (2019)

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The story of Australia’s bloody battle against the North Vietnamese is depicted in this very tense and emotional drama.

It is the year 1966. Australian and New Zealand soldiers are in Vietnam as they are assisting the South Vietnamese army against their Northern opposition. The mission Operation Vendetta is set to take place in Long Tan after a mortar attack was launched on the soldiers’ basecamp the night before. However, before the mission is set to begin, Major Harry Smith, having serious reservations about his platoon, attempts to be transferred. However, he is denied that request and brings his platoon to the jungles of Long Tan. As for Sgt. Bob Buick, his subordinates are extremely disrespectful to him.

Upon their arrival at Long Tan, the platoons are split up in teams of three. Gunfire ensues and both Smith and Buick’s teams are under constant attack for hours. In the midst of battle, Smith constantly rides Private Paul Large because the night before the mission, a drunken Large recklessly misfired his gun, forcing Smith to mistake it for enemy fire. Smith begins to doubt Large let along his team. However, as the battle goes on in Long Tan, both Smith and Buick will have to overcome their obstacles and personal issues to help their platoons survive this battle.

When it comes to films based on historical events, some facts tend to be a bit saturated or have a lack of historical accuracy in certain aspects. For this film, which revolves around the Battle of Long Tan in August of 1966, it seems clear that co-writer/producer Stuart Beattie must have done his research in hopes that the film will depict an accurate look at the battle, which pitted Australia and New Zealand against the North Vietnamese forces in their aiding the South Vietnamese.

Travis Fimmel leads the cast as Harry Smith, the mission leader who finds himself conflicted with his platoon. Smith is not so much a gruff character, but more of someone who has trust issues, including entrusting himself in leading a platoon as he finds himself more of a soldier than a leader. He is the focal point of the film in terms of having to confront both an inexperienced crew (especially a private whose screwup in the opening scene leads to him nearly choking the poor kid out), but also having to come with grips of himself. Luke Bracey is also great as Buick, a sergeant who in his opening scene, showing how annoyed he is when his subordinates hear gunfire and are more concerned about playing poker. This showcasing of disrespect makes you feel sympathetic more for Buick than that soldiers. However, as the battle scenes take over, you begin to feel for these men at war as they must do what it takes to survive.

Director Kriv Stenders did an excellent job in bringing not only the tense drama within the ranks, but the action as well. Using an arsenal in a historical war film can be tricky because it sometimes falls shorts of using weapons not actually used in the battles. However, Stenders and Beattie were accurate in the use of arsenal as the weapons seen in the film are those used in the actual Battle of Long Tan. What may shock viewers is that one of Huey Choppers used in the film was actually one of the choppers used in the original battle. That just shows the level of historical authenticity that makes this film a winner in any war film fan’s book.

Danger Close is a well-made Australian war epic that is more than a battle, but the tense moments within the ranks with a stellar cast led by Travis Fimmel and Luke Bracey.

WFG RATING: A

Saban Films presents a Red Dune Films production in association with Ingenious Media, Hoosegow Productions, and Deeper Water. Director: Kriv Stenders. Producers: Stuart Beattie, Andrew Mann, Tony H. Noun, Silvio Salom, John Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, and Martin Walsh. Writers: Stuart Beattie, James Nicholas, Karel Segers, Paul Sullivan, and Jack Brislee. Cinematography: Ben Nott. Editing: Veronika Jenet.

Cast: Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Nicholas Hamilton, Daniel Webber, Alexander England, Matt Doran, Stephen Peacocke, Anthony Hayes, Myles Pollard, Mojean Aria, Uli Letukefu.

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