Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is a brutally realistic recreation of the real-life battle that took place on August the 18th 1966 in Vietnam. The Battle of Long Tan is widely regarded as one of the bravest victories in the face of overwhelming odds of the whole Vietnam War. The Australian and New Zealand (ANZACS) supported the Americans but, while there have been many movies made about American troops in Vietnam, there have been virtually none about the Australian contribution.
So, Danger Close is not just a refreshing look at the conflict, but also gives a completely different view of the experiences suffered by these brave young men. All, putting their lives on the line to try to defeat the communist north. In fact, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, does well to point out that these men were caught up in what was essentially a civil war.
Now, it's fair to say that Danger Close does not have a huge production budget. However, the director Kriv Stenders and co-writer Stuart Beattie do a fantastic job regardless. In fact, Kriv Stenders delivers a truly spectacular masterclass in moviemaking here. The innovative camera work results in a truly immersive experience for the audience. This is a director who is possibly most famous for the film Red Dog. But with Danger Close, Kriv Stenders really shows what an outstanding talent he is. Add to this an excellent soundscore and it's hard not to get completely hooked into this film passionately for the full two hours.
On top of this, Stenders really gets some career-best performances from the cast too. There's some of Australia's finest acting talent on show here. But fronting up the cast is Travis Fimmel. Yes, you heard me, the one and only Ragnar Lothbrok. Or at least that is what he is most famous for. It's fair to say that his roles have been a little weak, since leaving Vikings, here he is outstanding, playing Major Harry Smith. I really hope this performance gets him the credit he rightly deserves because he is incredible.
But, rest assured, it's not just Fimmel who is shining in this impressive procession of Aussie stars. Well established names like Richard Roxburgh and Anthony Hayes give powerful performances as the senior Officers Brigadier David Jackson and Lieutenant Colonel Colin Townsend. Lasarus Ratuere, Sean Lynch, Stephen Peacocke, and Nicholas Hamilton are some of the other strong performances. But the other two standouts come from Luke Bracey and Daniel Webber who both get a little more attention from the camera and do incredibly well.
So, you may be guessing by now, that I loved Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Let me say this, it is not very often that I describe a movie as ‘Outstanding'. But with this film, I can think of no other way to describe it. Especially for a war movie, Danger Close does away with all of the nonsense. Even the victory is not swathed in self-righteous glory in a sloppy attempt to seduce the audience. I love it because this film tells it just as it is. The audience is dragged right into the center of the horrors, resulting in a heart-stopping and adrenaline-inducing experience.
All in all, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is easily one of the greatest war films I have ever seen. And that is not said lightly. The director and writers allow the story to be told but provide a perfectly balanced portrayal of the events. Plus, the intensity is as precise as a metronome keeping you hooked into every second and on the very edge of your seat right to the final minutes of the film. This closes with images of the actual soldiers who fought at the battle of long tan, accompanied by the song ‘I Was Only Nineteen'.
I could not recommend Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan strongly enough. Personally I will be amazed if this does not become a future iconic and classic film. Check it out on Netflix now.