The Objective (2009 movie) review…

The Objective (2009 movie) review after the break…

The Objective (2009 movie) review…

As I get older, I find myself becoming more impatient. I want things now; I don’t want to wait. If I have to wait in line, I don’t. If a website doesn’t load up quickly enough, I leave. Does a television program interest me? I’ll record the rest and cut out the commercials to watch it later on… Or maybe I won’t and erase the whole thing a few days later.

This increasing amount of impatience does not bode well for what I deem to be “puzzle movies.” These are the movies that ask more questions then it answers, that explain not one whit as to what it is actually trying to convey to the audience. Unfortunately, in this day and age where everyone demands more interactivity from everything – Movies, television, video games, books… A “puzzle” (really, for movies, just unanswered questions) is as close to interactive as one can make a non-interactive medium like a movie without it also being “3D.” What? No Smell-O-Vision yet?

“The Objective” is 2009 movie (or 2008, depending on who you believe) that takes place in war-torn Afghanistan. There, a group of soldiers led by a CIA operative must search for an Afghan native named “Mohammad” who is an American sympathizer. To find Mohammad, they must enter a spooky mountainous region from which few return. Odds are, they’re going to receive more then just a paper cut on this mission as they try to complete… “The Objective.”

I’ll be honest in that the first half of the movie is captivating. Perhaps I just have a low threshold for modern war movies but the setting looked authentic; It really looked like they were in war-torn Afghanistan, using authentic Middle Eastern actors and genuine military personnel talking the modern-day techno military talk with some machismo sprinkled in. If the soldiers in this movie have never had a single day of basic training, then they fooled me. Good job, good sirs.

The problem with “puzzle movies,” though, is that the answer (if there even is one) is rarely better then the imagination of the viewer. A viewer’s imagination has no budget; It can be as wildly vivid as possible whereas a movie is restricted to camera angles, special effects, scripts and time. This film is no exception – What makes the film oddly fascinating in the first half erodes the potential of the second half until it leaves us scratching our heads in absolute bewilderment.

Since the film has no intentions of giving a straight answer, I’m about to spoil the movie for you.

The CIA operative is not searching for “Mohammad” but leading a group of soldiers into a region of Afghanistan renown for it’s inherit spookiness. This spookiness is sometimes credited towards UFO but online chatter that has attempted to pick apart the film has also identified the Djinn as the possible source of the spookiness as well. The CIA operative has been uploading the experience to his superiors the entire time so that the superiors can see just how people are victimized by the mysterious whatever firsthand. It is, in essence, a suicide mission of which only the CIA operative “survives” although the definition of “survives” is quite flexible as the operative is in no condition to do much of anything at the end of the movie (although he does have something in common with Sigourney Weaver’s character from “Ghostbusters”).

If someone watched this film and said, “This is Blair Witch meets Predator (the first one) meets the ending of 2001 meets Afghanistan,” I wouldn’t fault them. While each of those proper nouns have artistic merit, the overall combination of them leaves much to be desired. Indeed, there are many “puzzle movie” cliches here that the filmmakers use to the detriment of the movie.

Modern-day telecommunications don’t work anymore? Check.

The superstitious guy forewarning of danger? Check.

The “The mission really isn’t the real mission” revelation? Check.

Obscure ending that explains virtually nothing? Check.

It would be snarky for me to write something like “The filmmakers failed reach ‘The Objective'” but, really, that’s not far off the mark at all. They knew going in that the ending would be obscure, they knew the reaction that the were aiming for with the audience. Well, “Objective” met but I don’t really think it was “The Objective” they were hoping to achieve.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned, with crazy, wacky Djinn-UFO happenings like these, who needs the Taliban?

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