The Dutch military mission in Afghanistan which had started in 2006 is coming to an end, though a redeployment task force would stay on to oversee the return of vehicles, military hardware and equipment to the Netherlands. This is the lead into one of the better foreign films of the Tribeca, “DO NOT HESITATE”. It is the second feature film by the Dutchman (originally from Venezuela) Sharif Korver, and with it, we find almost a character study of the absolute tricks of mind-play that war can do to you.
Written by Jolein Laarman, ‘Do Not Hesitate’ focuses on a trio of Dutch soldiers Erik (Joes Brauers),Thomas (Tobias Kersloot), and Roy (Spencer Bogaert), whom are separated from their unit when during a reconnaissance mission, their armored vehicle breaks down and they are tasked with staying back and ‘protecting the equipment’ while waiting for help in getting the vehicle and it’s expensive gunnery moved.
The three young soldiers, are not just bored, but you can see written all over them, how nervous and inexperienced they are. Throw in ‘paranoia’ to the mix, as anything can be a potential attack on them and all this leads one of them to ‘hear and see’ something to which it turns out, one accidentally kills a goat, which they in turn bury. Now this goat, well it’s probably the prime source of milk for a whole family, and if killed, would feed that family for a good portion of time. This isn’t at the top of their minds when a young boy, the goat’s owner/herder Khalil (Omar Alwan) shows up looking for his goat and upset by the death of his animal and demands restitution. While Khalil waits for his payment, Erik tries to be polite while Thomas spews racist words at him in Dutch. They are all frustrated by Khalil’s just screaming at the top of his little lungs at them, and though he is a teenager and he’s little, he’s determined to get more than the fifty American dollars they offer as compensation for his dead goat. Erik is the only one of the three to try to make amends and de-escalate the situation.
These three main characters have little in common besides being deployed as it’s apparent not just in the different dialects of Dutch they speak, but we see brief glimpses into who they were before being put in this most precarious of positions. So much mentally happens and it leads into a step by step tense by tense moment after moment, with the music by Juho Nurmela and Ella van der Woude‘s creeping piano and continuing drums throughout, keeps it and you on edge, to the earth shattering final act right before being rescued that can only have ended as it did. The ending, while it might shock you, you also realize it was always going to be this way because these boys are really far too young, and inexperienced in their own right to even be put in this type of predicament. No one should ever be and it’s that story with the ending showing it never ever will not effect them, that makes you think truly ask if the price of war is really worth it.
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Tribeca Virtual screening of ‘’DO NOT HESITATE’ ~ courtesy of MPRM Communications
“DO NOT HESITATE” DEBUTED AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL // TO BE RELEASED IN NETHERLANDS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2021