On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: AFGHAN LUKE (Screen Media).
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By Joe Charnitski
Afghanistan doesn’t need a better army. It needs more modern bathrooms. That very well may be the major lesson learned in the Canadian war picture AFGHAN LUKE, directed by filmmaker Mike Clattenburg. It’s an idea expressed at different times by a few characters, and while it sounds like a one-liner delivered by a snarky news junkie, it might also be the truth.
Nick Stahl / AFGHAN LUKE (Screen Media)
The capital T “Truth” is a significant character in this film. Journalist Luke Benning (played by Nick Stahl of TERMINATOR 3 and SIN CITY fame) has been covering the desert beat in Afghanistan since Canada joined the coalition against terror. On a fateful afternoon he thinks he sees Canadian troops committing an act of mutilation on recently gunned down Taliban corpses. He wasn’t close enough to know for sure, and his camera exploded in front of his face thanks to a highly skilled Canadian sniper. His boss and colleagues aren’t so sure he saw what he thinks he saw, and so Luke must embark on a search for the truth.
Luke brings his friend Tom along for the ride. Tom pretends to be working on a documentary for CNN about tank warfare, but he really seems more interested in seeking out the best hash Kabul has to offer. A rival journalist also appears on the scene and Luke’s convinced he’s hunting down the same story. Luke’s ensuing odyssey introduces him to a drug kingpin who wants to help his nephew break onto the U.S. pop music charts, a band of “fake” Taliban who have a very real interest in making a statement with a knife and Tom’s head, and face to face with the very soldier who may or may not have sliced souvenirs off of those Taliban bodies.
At the conclusion of the story, Luke once again is in a position to believe he has a firm grasp on the elusive truth. This time he thinks he understands his role in a conflict that occurs at the climax of the film. Don’t worry! No spoiler alert is needed here. It’s just important to point out that when we see Luke’s face as we fade to black, and we know that what he carries as fact is no more than a reassuring tall tale, the murky nature of reality covered by the fog of war is held before us to inspect and consider.
What else do we think we know?