Are we reaching peak Afghan war film? This achingly well-intentioned and earnestly acted piece about a Danish Nato military contingent in looks almost indistinguishable from so many other films on the same theme. It serves up almost every visual cliche: the guys going mad with sunbathing boredom off-duty, the horror of an IED, the tense stand-off with Afghan civilians – and back home, while Dad is away at war, the kids are acting up at school, with Mum super-stressed but keeping a lid on it. Then the film swivels almost arbitrarily into courtroom-drama mode and deploys a few more cliches there, too.
At the movie’s centre is the company commander Claus, played by Pilou Asbæk, a fundamentally decent guy who must bear the terrible burden of leadership: his men are slowly becoming unhinged by being easy targets for roadside bombs. Under pressure, he appears to make an awful mistake. Standard-issue liberal guilt and hand-wringingly uninteresting dilemmas are the order of the day, with no real surprises or challenges.