Almost like the depicted army manoeuvres, this gets in, does it and gets out again with blank-faced efficiency. As typical with Clark, character is in the situation, not stock types, and the lack of gallows humour and focus on cold procedure provides a refreshing change to the buddy-buddy stereotypes of such dramas, not to say moralising. The politicking of war, although clear, remains at bay; the futility does not.
Late Alan Clarke was raging. Again, he uses heavy repetition of violence and mundanity to brutal effect. He relentlessly screamed at us to empathetically understand the impact of human conflict in his final few films by forcing a neutral POV to restrict any mental bias. Providing no political context, nor character backstory - he just shows killing, dying and the affect they have on human beings that may be like you.
Another great Clarke film. He's becoming one my favourite directors. The meaninglessness of young lives being taken in a conflict, the peaceful landscape suddenly shattered by violence, the boredom and paranoia of war. According to the guy next to me in the cinema who was a soldier in Northern Ireland during the time it's also very realistic.