An Afghanistan valley steeped in insurgency is the eponymous setting for this gallant portrait of a group of U.S. soldiers fighting in the face of certain defeat. Why the Kamdesh base came to be known as “Camp Custer” will soon become all too apparent. Scott Eastwood stars in this adaptation of Jake Tapper’s exhaustively researched book, and not unlike Papa Clint’s Tightrope, when viewed at home, several of the inkier nocturnal sequences may require the use of night vision goggles. (In a note to critics, director Rod Lurie asks that viewers “try and replicate the theater experience as much as possible...as there are a few night scenes that may get lost otherwise.”) Names printed on screen introduce each character, no matter the size of their role. Undoubtedly a fine way to honor the heroes, but mighty damn confusing for an audience, particularly when it’s so dark one can barely discern facial features. Unquestionably grim, but an exquisitely executed long take on a suspension bridge held more thrills than anything in the gimmicky 1917. Just make sure the lights are low and the brightness level cranked. With Caleb Landry Jones surpassing all past performances as a real-life hero Ty Michael Carter, a specialist in saving lives. (2020) — Scott Marks
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