The Objective is a Horror/Sci-Fi written and directed by Daniel Myrick, who directed The Blair Witch Project in 1999 and the cult/Armageddon creeper Believers in 2007. This film includes elements not uncommon to the works of Tom Clancy (like espionage, covert ops, and government/CIA conspiracies) while also expounding on theories one might hear on an episode of Discovery Channel’s Ancient Aliens.
Check out my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: Four months before the invasion of Afghanistan, six Special-Ops soldiers and one embedded reporter are faced with an enemy that none of them could ever have imagined. While on the mission they find themselves lost in a Middle Eastern ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of ancient evil.
The Objective takes place in the ominous international climate that followed the immediate aftermath of 9/11. CIA Operative (and narrator) Benjamin Keynes (Jonas Ball) leads a Special Ops team into the foreboding mountains of Afghanistan. Their stated mission: Locate respected cleric Mohammad Aban and obtain a statement of support for America’s eminent war against the Taliban. Their REAL mission: Well, lets just say that Keynes is keeping that information close to his chest.
The military team on a shady mission, the narration, the journey into an extremely isolated and inhospitable area teeming with potential enemies: All of these plot points give The Objective a modern Apocalypse Now kind of feel. There’s an adventurous energy and a spirit of camaraderie similar to any number of war films. What set The Objective apart from these sagas is the nature of the “enemy” they encounter: Possibly supernatural, possibly otherworldly—possibly both.
Myrick spans the globe and several millennia in his effort to insert “real life” mysteries and unknown phenomena into The Objective, like: Vimanas, a triangular UFO event originating in Indian mythology and reportedly encountered by Alexander the Great during his conquest of Central Asia. We’ve got artifacts of the Quimbaya culture of Columbia (dated around 1000 CE), specifically the golden ornaments that resemble modern-day airplanes. There’s a “cromlech”: a prehistoric megalithic structure like Stonehenge. Finally, in a nod to local Afghan mythology, we’ve got some Jinns: Supernatural creatures from Islamic and Arabic folklore.
This use of outside mythology is the same tactic Myrick used in Blair Witch to give his story legitimacy and a life beyond the film’s 90-minute run-time. But is this hodge-podge of mystical mystery too much to heap into a single film, especially one with a realistic military tone? I’m sure some viewers will think so.
The Third Act kind of disintegrates when the true objective of The Objective is revealed. But is it realistic for these Special-Ops guys to question and defy the orders of their CIA commander? There’s an attempt to differentiate between “suicide” and “sacrifice”, but it was never clear to me which side of the spectrum Keynes and his men fall on. And as for Keynes himself, it’s hard to decide if he’s a dedicated patriot or an evil pawn of the CIA.
The conclusion is kind of a “What the fuck?” moment that felt, to me, like a rip-off of Kubrick’s 2001. It’s like the filmmakers wrote themselves into a corner with all these disparate influences and needed some way of wrapping things up quickly. What I did appreciate, however, was the documentary-style epilogue that plays out during the final credits (even though it’s kind of an old trick for Myrick at this point).
The scenes of gore and violence in The Objective are fleeting. In my final assessment, this film only barely qualifies as Horror; I’d call it a “Psychological Sci-Fi”. Sure, it’s problematic, but I found it much easier to sit back and enjoy the ride than to dwell on plot holes and ambiguities. The Objective requires a certain amount of innate intelligence to be appreciated and those with opened minds (and vivid imaginations) will appreciate this film the most.
3 out of 5 Skull Heads.
|Release Date||October 13 2009|
|Starring||Jonas Ball, Michael C. Williams, Jon Huertas, Matt Anderson|