The Objective

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2008 Tribeca Film Festival

Of course "The Objective" is infused with a "Blair Witch Project"-style sensibility: Its director/co-writer Daniel Myrick is one of the filmmakers responsible for that landmark indie smash. Thus, this war-horror movie basically plays like "Blair Witch" in Afghanistan.

Although the director eschews the mock home-video style employed in his debut film, the basic setup is similar. However, instead of a group of campers terrorized by a mysterious force, it's an American Special Forces team.

The story, set a couple of months after Sept. 11, centers on a secret mission led by a close-lipped CIA agent (Jonas Ball, recently seen as Mark David Chapman in "The Killing of John Lennon"), who neglects to tell the soldiers accompanying him about the exact nature of their mission. They think they are going after the terrorists; instead, they have been sent to discover the cause of a mysterious energy source. Eventually, the team, along with a local Afghan (Zindune Chems Eddine) recruited as a guide, finds itself being picked off one by one by incinerating beams of light from the sky.

Although the film has an undeniably strong, suspenseful tone -- not to mention symbolic resonance -- it doesn't rise above its overly familiar setup. The screenplay, featuring portentous voice-over narration by its lead character, is filled with stock characters and cliched dialogue: "We all have our orders, chief," the CIA man says to a rebellious team member. "Maybe you haven't heard, dead men don't follow orders" is the reply.

The Objective
JAZ Films and Gearhead Pictures
Credits: Director: Daniel Myrick; Writers: Daniel Myrick, Mark A. Patton, Wesley Clark Jr.; Producers: Jeremy Wall, Zev Guber; Executive producers: Gary Hamilton, Ian Gibbins, Victor Syrmis, Claus Clausen, Glenn Stewart, Steffen Aumuller, Dennis Riff; Director of photography: Stephanie Martin; Production designer: Frank Bollinger; Music: Kays Alatrakchi; Co-producers: Andrea Balen, Karin Debbagh, Richard Halpern; Editors: Michael Duthie, Robert Florio, Daniel Myrick.
Cast: Ben Keyes: Jonas Ball; Wally: Matt Anderson; Tanner: Kenny Taylor; Trinoski: Mike C. Williams; Sadler: Jeff Prewett; Vincent Degetau: Jon Huertas; Tim Cole: Sam Hunter: Abdul: Zindune Chems Eddine.
MPAA rating: PG-13, running time 104 minutes.

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