“Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan” is an exceedingly rare 21st-century breed: an in-country Vietnam War movie. Even rarer, this one tells an Australian Vietnam War story. The film came out Down Under in August and is due to be released in the U.S. in November. It recreates a brutal 1966 battle that took place near the Sixth Battalion Royal Australian Regiment’s military task force base at Nui Dat.
Reviews of Aussie director Kriv Stenders’ film have been mixed. “Orchestrated on an impressive scale, the movie nonetheless feels both familiar and diffuse, with thinly sketched variations on a bronzed theme rather than characters,” the Hollywood Reporter opined, “appropriately enough for a film that aims to burnish a legend.”
The movie “doesn’t offer any perspective from the Vietnamese, who are seen as a relentless but faceless force, and also falls prey to a little cliché as characters open up at crucial moments to talk about their lives – and we therefore know that they’re done for,” DM Bradley wrote in The Adelaide Review. “However, the authentic look to the film, the fierce fighting set pieces and the committed performances should please Vietnam veterans, who have been waiting for this story to make it to the big-screen for decades.”
Bradley also said that despite the movie’s problems, “it’s hard not to be moved as the credits show the actors alongside snapshots of the men they played. It reminds us: these were real people. This really happened. Never forget.”