“Siege of Jadotville” delivers intense action

The Siege of Jadotville, based on the book of the same name, tells the real-life story of a company of Irish peacekeepers working for the UN who are stationed at the remote outpost of Jadotville during the Congo Crisis of the 1960s, which saw the State of Katanga attempt to violently break away from the recently independent Republic of Congo.

They soon come under attack from a 3,000-strong force of Katanga soldiers and foreign mercenaries and, against all odds, manage to repel them after five days of fighting.

The real-life events of the movie are fascinating and I highly recommend looking them up when you get the chance, but let’s focus on the movie for now.

The acting is solid with a fantastic performance by Jamie Dornan as Comdt Pat Quinlan, the stoic leader of the Irish forces.

Mark Strong, usually known for his action roles, makes a surprise turn as UN special representative Conor Cruise O’Brien, whose spineless toadying is responsible for much of Quinlan’s team’s suffering.

Of course, a film with “siege” in its title has to deliver on that promise and the action here is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Props must be given to director Richie Smyth because no matter how intense or chaotic things got on screen, it was always easy to follow exactly what was going on.

The only serious criticism I had with the film was that it rushed the final scenes a little too much – one month of imprisonment is simply waved off with a voice over. Still, when the rest of the film is as good as it is, those sorts of things can be overlooked.

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