Thursday, 23 August 2012

Behind Enemy Lines

Enemy Lines
and which had a predictable outcome and familiar feel. The film set in Bosnia in 1995 when a USA carrier plane is assigned a Christmas holiday recognisance mission during the ceasefire and a demilitarised zone. The pilot and navigator are ordered on the otherwise routine mission because of their rowdy and anti authority behaviour and because one of the officers has requested to leave the service and become a commercial pilot. When they spot unusual and suspicious activity in the no fly zone they decide to investigate filming with a view to study on return but find themselves shot down on the orders of the local Serbian commander who has been secretly exterminating Muslims using mass graves which the plane has unknowingly filmed.

Because of the truce the Rear Admiral Commanding officer, Gene Hackman is ordered not to use naval helicopters to collect the downed officers and orders them to make their way to safety despite information that they are being hunted by armed forces. One of the officers witnesses the execution of the other who pretended he was the only flier. The reaction of the second officer, albeit at a distance, is sufficient to alert the Serbians who in addition to the regular forces appoint the man who executed the flier to find and execute the other. The second part of the films involves the successful attempt to evade capture which includes hiding himself among bodies in one of the open genocide burial sites. Although prevented from going to rescue the officer Hackman uses satellite surveillance to track the movements and to attempt to persuade the authorities to give permission. Instead of moving to safety the flier decides to return to the crashed aircraft site to retrieve the recordings from the camera located in one of the ejector seats. Hackman also decides to risk his command by taking three helicopters with volunteers to retrieve his man and the film.

Although he has the recordings the officers remains on the scene to await the arrival of the man who executed his navigator and kills him after a hand to hand combat. The Film advises the audience that the Rear Admiral lost his command and retired rather than accept a desk job in Washington. The pilot who had decided to resign his commission elects to remain in the force. This of course is all fiction.

The film has some basis in reality as a USAF Captain Scott Brady was shot down in Bosnia on 2 June 1995 and survived for six days before being extracted (rescued). He commenced legal action because the film was made without his permission and because of the way his character is portrayed. The producers demonstrated that the film was fictional and bore no resemblance to the experience of O’Grady who did not interact with civilians, entered populated areas or flew a plane of the same make. The film was primarily concerned with bringing to attention once more the genocide which the Serbians committed. Two sequels have been made which went straight to DVD and which may appear on TV in due course.

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