The Outpost (2020 film)

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The Outpost
TheOutpostPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRod Lurie
Produced by
  • Paul Michael Merryman
  • Paul Tamasy
  • Marc Frydman
  • Jeffrey Greenstein
  • Jonathan Yunger
  • Les Weldon
Screenplay by
  • Eric Johnson
  • Paul Tamasy
Based onThe Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor
by Jake Tapper
Starring
Music byLarry Groupé
CinematographyLorenzo Senatore
Edited byMichael J. Duthie
Production
company
  • Millennium Media
  • Perfection Hunter
  • York Films
Distributed byScreen Media Films
Release date
  • July 3, 2020 (2020-07-03) (United States)
Running time
123 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$887,383[2][3]

The Outpost is a 2020 American war drama film directed by Rod Lurie, based on a 2012 non-fiction book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper about the Battle of Kamdesh. It stars Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Milo Gibson, and Jack Kesy.

The film was scheduled to premiere at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was released via video on demand, as well as in selected theaters, on July 3, 2020. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the battle sequences and respectful depiction of the soldiers.

Premise[edit]

The film tells the story of the 53 U.S. soldiers and two Latvian military advisors who battled a force of some 400 enemy insurgents in north-eastern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Originally built to engage the locals in community development projects, Combat Outpost Keating — located at the bottom of three steep mountains just 14 miles from the Pakistani border — faced a constant threat of being attacked by the Taliban, putting the U.S. soldiers stationed there at significant risk. When the Taliban heard of US military officials intentions to close the outpost, they decided to make a statement.

Plot[edit]

The film story is based on the bravery of a small unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating. The Battle of Kamdesh, as it was known, was the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghan War in 2009 and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.

It was located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battles to defend against an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack.

Cast[edit]

  • Orlando Bloom as Captain Benjamin D. Keating
  • Scott Eastwood as Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha
  • Caleb Landry Jones as Specialist Ty Michael Carter
  • Milo Gibson as Captain Robert Yllescas[4]
  • Jack Kesy as Sgt. Josh Kirk
  • Will Attenborough as Ed Faulkner
  • Taylor John Smith as First Lt Andrew Bundermann
  • Cory Hardrict as Sgt. Vernon Martin
  • Celina Sinden as Cpt. Katie Kopp
  • Trey Tucker [5] as Captain Stoney Portis
  • James Jagger as Chris Jones
  • Alfie Stewart as Pfc. Zorias Yunger
  • Marin Rangelov as Nasir
  • Jack Kalian as Ssg. Shane Courville
  • Ernest Cavazos as Sgt. Armando Avalos
  • Jacob Scipio as Staff Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos
  • Jonathan Yunger as SFC Jonathan Hill
  • Kwame Patterson as Sylvanius Broward
  • Jeremy Ang Jones as PFC. Jordan Wong
  • Aleksandar Aleksiev as Latvian Army Sgt. Jānis Laķis
  • Jack DeVos as Sgt. Joshua Hardt

Three people who served at the actual outpost appear in the movie: Ty Carter appears in a cameo role; Henry Hughes appears in a cameo as Brad Larson, and SPC Daniel Rodriguez appears as himself.

Production[edit]

After acquiring the rights to Jake Tapper's book, screenwriters Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, as well as producer Scott Stuber, originally had a deal in place with Universal Pictures to produce the film, with Sam Raimi slated to direct. After the plan with Universal and Raimi fell through, producer Paul Merryman then hired Rod Lurie, a former West Point graduate-turned-film critic and director, to helm the project.[6] The film was officially announced alongside the casting of Eastwood and Bloom in May 2018, and in August Milo Gibson joined the cast.[7][8]

Because Clint Romesha had written a book on the conflict that had in-turn been optioned by Sony Pictures, the producers rushed to get The Outpost made, and contact between Romesha and Eastwood (who depicts him in the film) was limited after a legal letter from the studio. Three weeks before filming was set to begin, Eastwood broke his ankle, causing a two-week delay, rewrites, and re-choreographing of the fight sequences.[6] Filming took place mostly in Bulgaria, wrapping in mid-October 2018.[9]

Release[edit]

In October 2019, a rough edit of The Outpost was screened for the depicted soldiers and their families in Washington, D.C., which Stoney Portis, who was the commander of the unit at the time, called "part of the healing."[10] The film was then scheduled to premiere on March 14, 2020 at the South by Southwest Film Festival.[11][12] However, the festival was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.[13]

In April 2020, Screen Media Films acquired distribution rights to the film.[14] It was released via video on demand and in selected theaters on July 3, 2020.[15] Fathom Events originally planned on releasing the film on 500 screens theatrically from July 2-5,[16] however due to the pandemic the plans were scrapped; it did still release in 69 theaters.[10] It made $14,182 in its debut weekend.[17]

Reception[edit]

VOD sales[edit]

In its debut weekend, The Outpost was the top-rented film on the iTunes Store and FandangoNow, and reportedly was the best debut in Screen Media's history.[18][10] It remained the number one film on iTunes in its second weekend, as well as on AppleTV, while finishing second at FandangoNow and on Spectrum's weekly chart.[19][20] The film continued to do well in its third week of release, finishing first at Apple TV and Spectrum and second on FandangoNow.[21] It remained in the top six across all services in the subsequent weeks.[22][23]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 80 reviews, with an average rating of 7.82/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Told with gripping realism, The Outpost is a thrilling technical feat and a worthy tribute to military heroes."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25]

Peter Debruge, in his review for Variety, called the film a "harrowing immersive account" of the battle and wrote: "The Outpost isn't glamorous, but it's respectful of the sacrifice and split-second decision-making that Bravo Troop faced, amplifying the terror of such an impossible assignment by attempting to mirror the characters' point of view."[26] David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "B" and called it "familiar but uncommonly visceral", writing that "Lurie does a strong job of threading the needle between excitement and calamity; shooting much of the 45-minute long ambush in hectic, agile long-takes allows him to capture the Battle of Kamdesh for all of its terror, and with a clarity that allows us to feel that terror in our bones."[27]

The film was praised by veterans, including those who fought in the battle, for its realistic depiction of warfare, everyday soldier life, and the looks of the base.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SXSW 2020 Schedule: The Outpost". South by Southwest. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Outpost (2020) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Outpost (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  4. ^ "Milo Gibson Inks With Alchemy For Management, Boards Rod Lurie's 'The Outpost'". August 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "Newcomer Trey Tucker Joins Scott Eastwood, Orlando Bloom in 'Outpost' (Exclusive)". November 9, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Steve Pond (March 13, 2020). "Rod Lurie on 'The Outpost': 'I Will Never, Ever Do Anything as Important as This'". TheWrap. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  7. ^ "Jake Tapper's 'Outpost' Film Enlists Scott Eastwood, Orlando Bloom to Star (Exclusive)". May 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom head to war in The Outpost". May 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "On location in Bulgaria as 'The Outpost' becomes a feature film". CNN. October 31, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Rod Lurie (July 6, 2020). "'The Outpost' Director Rod Lurie On Looking Beyond Box Office Numbers To Find Validation In Films Released During Pandemic – Guest Column". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "SXSW Film Festival to premiere Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson comedy". January 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "SXSW 2020 Schedule - The Outpost". SXSW. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  13. ^ "City of Austin Cancels SXSW March Events". South by Southwest. March 6, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (April 20, 2020). "SXSW Debut Nixed, Rod Lurie-Directed Afghan War Thriller 'The Outpost' Lands Screen Media Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  15. ^ "Jake Tapper Announces "The Outpost" Film Will Premiere On July 3rd". www.yahoo.com.
  16. ^ "'The Outpost' Plots Theatrical Run on 500 Screens in July". The Hollywood Reporter. May 22, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  17. ^ Tom Brueggemann (July 8, 2020). "Sympathy for the Devil: You Can't Blame the Theaters for Suing New Jersey". IndieWire. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (July 7, 2020). "'Hamilton' Rules Disney+ Over July 4, but the VOD Success Story Is Rod Lurie's 'The Outpost'". IndieWire. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  19. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (July 13, 2020). "'The Old Guard' Opens to Number One on Netflix as 'The Outpost' Flies High Again on VOD". IndieWire. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Rowles, Dustin (July 12, 2020). "Weekend Box Office: The Most-Watched Movies At Home (And In Drive-In Theaters) Over The Weekend". Uproxx. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (July 21, 2020). "'The Outpost' Still Strong on VOD, While John Lewis and Danny Trejo Docs Score". IndieWire. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  22. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (July 27, 2020). "'The Rental' Is Second Film Ever to Be #1 on Both Theatrical and VOD Charts at Same Time". IndieWire. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  23. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (August 3, 2020). "'The Secret: Dare to Dream' Soars on PVOD as 'The Rental' and 'The Outpost' Hold Strong". IndieWire. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Outpost (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Outpost Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  26. ^ Debruge, Peter (June 29, 2020). "'The Outpost': Film Review". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Ehrlich, David (July 2, 2020). "'The Outpost' Review: A Harrowing Account of the War in Afghanistan's Bloodiest American Conflict". IndieWire. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  28. ^ Portis, Stoney (July 3, 2020). "I Watched My War Story Become a Movie". New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2020.

External links[edit]