Directed by John Stockwell
Some 19 months after the tracking and killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, one of the first feature films on the events that led up to the assault in Abbottabad is released. Hollywood moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein executive produce this picture and with their ability to recognise and tell a good on-screen story, it’s a safe assumption that the movie will be good popcorn fare.
The Weinsteins do not disappoint. Movie production is delegated to Nicolas Chartier, already a proven storyteller of complex modern military matters with The Hurt Locker to his credit, Code Name: Geronimo is refreshingly non-sensational in its construction. Starring Cam Gigandet, most recently known for the 2011 movie Priest, Chartier and his director John Stockwell have shot a tale that appears to have considerable historical authenticity leading up to those events of May 2011, as well as having one of the most anticipated shoot-em-up finales of recent years.
Filmed on location in the USA, with some scenes shot in India for Asian authenticity, the movie has frequent (telephonic) dialog with Defense Secretary Pannetta and numerous references to President Obama, but wisely opts not to show such recognisable political faces on screen, where the (probably ridiculous) lookalike factor would detract from the impact of the story. The CIA agents, politicos and the SEALS unit themselves are of course unknown faces to the audience and all these performances are solid and plausible, even if at times the cheese factor creeps up with the “goodbye mom” phone calls that the agents make before setting off on their mission to Abbottabad.
Of course this is a story that everyone knows before they even switch on their TV. Recognising this, Chartier nonetheless delivers a film that makes for solid viewing, with aspects of the production evoking the Homeland series. Made on a decent budget and with credible and sometimes graphic action sequences, particularly Bin Laden’s final moments, this is a watchable movie, well worth a rent or a download.