Past Memorial Day Movie Days have included such classics as Saving Private Ryan, Inglourious Basterds, and Apocalypse Now.
This year, however, I decided to go in a completely different direction and check out an obscure indie film that had been recommended by an NYU Film School buddy.
The Attack on Bamboo Forest (2016) is one of those found footage films that The Blair Witch Project made famous. I’ve always associated the found footage style with the horror movie genre, so I was intrigued to see it applied to a war film.
The movie stars an incredibly handsome, but totally unknown actor whose name I do not recall, and is directed by someone who apparently made a name for himself on the internet and self-financed the flick in an attempt to jump start a Hollywood career.
The plot was a little confusing, and there wasn’t much dialogue because there is only the one nameless character, and he spends the movie talking into his camera.
We assume at first that he is reporting back to his superiors or to the other members of his unit, as it didn’t make sense for one brave man to pull off this attack by himself.
However, in an incredible twist at the end SPOILER ALERT (do not read the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want the ending blown for you!), we realize that our hero knows he is on a suicide mission, and is recording a final goodbye to the love of his life.
He only refers to her as “Baby” and “Sweetheart”, and we never learn anything more about her, other than that our protagonist clearly loves her very much.
As I mentioned, the plot of the film is a little thin. We only get backstory from the hero’s comments into the camera, so we’re never sure exactly where he is.
Clearly, he is in a forest of bamboo, so that led me to believe he was somewhere in Southeast Asia and that this might take place during the Vietnam War, but judging by our hero’s attire and the technology involved, this is taking place in the current day.
We’re not sure why he has been sent to attack the Bamboo Forest, but it is clearly a very personal mission for him. We piece together that he has been to this destination previously, maybe about a year ago, and he thought he had destroyed his target.
What I got from the emotion and the hero’s angry language was that he blamed himself for failing and having to return to this “god awful place that mankind should have wiped off the face of the planet ages ago!”.
This dude obviously hates The Bamboo Forest, so he’s the perfect person to send to destroy it.
I looked to see if this was a sequel, but I could find no other films by this filmmaker or about the mysterious Bamboo Forest.
It’s definitely a great movie to watch on Memorial Day if you’re looking for a war movie that is unique, inspiring, has a romantic bent, and teaches you something about how to remove annoying bamboo from your property.
I laughed, I cried, I felt proud to be an American, and I realized how much I hate bamboo.
The Attack on the Bamboo Forest can be found online at http://www.screwyoubamboo.com or simply by Googling the film’s title.
If you end up checking it out, Modern Philosophers, let me know what you think. Maybe I can track down the director and interview him on the blog if enough of you enjoy the flick.
Warning: This film is not yet rated and may be inappropriate for some audiences due to language, violence, and the presence of bamboo.
Happy Memorial Day!
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