Danger Close

Danger Close: Recommended War Movie

No Spoilers on this one

I stumbled across this movie in 2021 and when I saw that it was released in 2019, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that this would be a good film.

I’ve noticed a trend in Hollywood’s inability to make decent war movies of late. Most of the “war movies” that I’ve seen that were released post 2002 have been uniformly garbage. (There are some notable exceptions like “American Sniper” and “Lone Survivor” both of which are okay but suffer from the “Book is Better” syndrome).

But I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was an Australian Film Industry project, which seems less plagued by the production poison so evident with US film makers, of late.

Next, I learned that is a story based on a real battle! So this should satisfy the desire for verisimilitude that I seek in a war movie. And specifically this is a docudrama about the battle of Long Tan during in 1966 during the Vietnam War.

I want to pause for a moment and point out that when I was growing up, the Vietnam War became something of an obsession for me and I’ve spent years deep diving into this particularly conflict. While I’m not familiar with the details about the battle of Long Tan I do know a lot about policies, procedures, tactics, technologies, equipment, and uniforms used during the late 1960’s in Vietnam. I like to think that if there’s going to be a gross error somewhere, I’ve got a better than average chance of finding it. I feel this way, because there are so many TV shows and Movies that rip me out of the story when the production team does something blatantly wrong. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in this project!

(I did have a concern regarding the use of the M-16 by the Ausie troops. I knew that this rifle had been introduced early during the Vietnam War but I had to check and verify that it was available at that time. As history would have it, the M-16 showed up in Vietnam a year before the battle of Long Tan).

One of the hazards from most war movies is that the ‘action’ isn’t sufficient so the story teller’s need to pad out the film a bit with excruciating exposition.

Not so with Danger Close! We start this movie in the middle of a mortar attack on the Australian base!

And the story just builds from there. Though the battle took place over a couple of days, the director handled the interludes and down time well, not wasting our time and keeping the tension and suspense sufficiently ratcheted up all the way to the end.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, in this movie, and through a combination of concise character exposition, casting, and character acting allow us to follow and identify with the various characters. Travis Fimmel is a familiar face, and his portrayal of Major Harry Smith was quite enjoyable. Fimmel gets a bit of camera time in this film and it’s all well used!

“Danger Close” only has one ‘lets bond over stuff going on back home’ scene that seems contrived.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much time and isn’t that much of a detraction from the story.

As of late, the other issue that I’ve been having is that I don’t tend to sit down and watch movies in one sitting. Indeed, when I started watching “Danger Close” my intention was to only watch the first fifteen to twenty minutes and then to wander off and work on something else.

However, I found myself sitting eagerly through the whole film on the first run.

Overall, I’m recommending this as a must see. Overall one of the better war movies that you’ll be able to find!

This movie earns its USA MPAA R rating, but I don’t consider it a ‘hard’ R rating. There is the expected violence one expects from a war movie, but this movie isn’t gratuitous or gory with the battle wounds portrayed.

Check out Danger Close on Amazon Prime!