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SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Interrogated detainees reveal details on Osama Bin Laden's possible whereabouts and the CIA debates how and when to strike. Intense training begins for a team of seasoned Navy SEALs. They ready themselves for an unknown mission with the only Intel that it will be top priority. Orders from the Pentagon instruct the team to convene at the US Base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Eight months of surveillance of the suspected Bin Laden hideout reveals high walls, tinted windows and barbed wire surrounding a two-storey home and guest house. At CIA Headquarters in Langley, officials debate the possible ramifications of an unannounced attack on Pakistani soil. In Afghanistan, the men ready themselves to board Black Hawk helicopters bound for the compound. With helmet cams on and the President watching via satellite, the mission begins...

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you want a proficient, dramatized re-enactment of the May 1 - 2, 2011 mission to kill Osama bin Laden, Seal Team Six meets the bill. It begins well before the actual raid and shows us glimpses of both the operative team and some of the key players at CIA HQ, notably Vivian Hollings (Kathleen Robertson) as the driving force behind the mission.

Thanks to technology, modern war takes place in real time in our lounge rooms, so much of the footage - helmet-cam and all - looks familiar, as do the clips of President Obama reporting the raid to the world. As a result, while this is skilfully integrated into the film, the impact of it all is low key.

As well as a few, perfunctory personal moments (looking at family photos, Skype-ing home, etc), the film purports to show the team (and Vivian) in post-raid interviews with unseen interviewer for an unknown purpose. It certainly wouldn't be for broadcast, since their real identities are secret. This attempt to put their feelings into the mix is valid but the execution is mijudged.

It is also a weakness of the film that it tries to show the raid in the currently fashionable mash-up style of filmmaking - to make us feel we are there, or at least watching via satellite. The result is a blur. To really tell the story with any clarity and to emphasise the risks and challenges, to underline the planning involved, a far more forensic style of filmmaking is needed. We want to see the plan in action in detail, complete with graphics if necessary, and with even more exposition than delivered. For example, it is commendable that during the raid brief on screen captions identify some of the bin Laden family and entourage during a freeze frame, but there isn't enough of that sort of clarity.

All the same, and despite understandable burst of national pride and bouts of jingoism, the film gives us a single continuous newscast of the entire plan.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN: DVD (MA15+)
(US, 2012)

(aka Code Name: Geronimo)

CAST: Cam Gigandet, Xzibit, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Freddy Rodriguez, Anson Mount, Kathleen Robertson, Robert Knepper, Kenneth Miller, William Fichtner, Jenny Gabrielle, Mo Gallini

PRODUCER: Nicolas Chartier, Zey Foreman, Tony Mark

DIRECTOR: John Stockwell

SCRIPT: Kendall Lampkin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Holland

EDITOR: Ben Callahan

MUSIC: Paul Haslinger

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Barnes

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.78:1; 5.1 Dolby Surround (also available on Blu-ray)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes featurette (bonus film on Blu-ray: Director's Cut of original, Code Name: Geronimo)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission

DVD RELEASE: January 2, 2013







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