#SheWatches Danger Close : The Battle of Long Tan

August 8, 2019

Being a child of the 60’s, the Vietnam War and talk of the war swirled all around us. Who could ever forget the footage that was being beamed around the world? Many of us had friends and family affected by the war and that is why this movie is so important and powerful. It is a story that needed to be told to honour those who fought, who lived and died in Vietnam. 

Danger Close : The Battle of Long Tan is based on the true story of 108 , mostly inexperienced soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who fought for their lives, holding off an overwhelming force of 2500 battle hardened Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers.This movie is a nail-biting and dramatic exploration of war illustrating heroism, mateship and the sacrifice of battle. Most of the audience held their collective breath, gasped and cried as we watched along. I was still shaking as the lights came on after seeing  the roll call of soldiers who never made it home. I sucked in a deep breath and fought back my tears as the fading notes from the song ‘ He Was Only 19 ‘ trailed away. Most of the boys in this battle were younger than my sons, aged from 19- 22.

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan stars Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Luke Bracey ( Point Break) and the veteran Richard Roxburgh ( Rake) plus Queensland’s own Lincoln Lewis ( Gallipoli – Miniseries). 

Travis Fimmel plays the pivotal role of Major Harry Smith, a battle hardened soldier, whose job it was to mould this group of green and inexperienced soldiers into a fighting unit. His relationship with Daniel Webber, who played Private Paul Large, was pivotal to the story and Webber’s portrayal of the rabbit shooting , country boy was a stand out for me. Director Kriv Stenders ( Red Dog ) has not focused on the war as a whole, but tells the story through the eyes of the individual soldiers in this famous battle. The mateship, personalities, fears and strengths of each character are all on display. You can tell this was a labour of love for all involved. 

This drama action movie was filmed here in Queensland and you will feel like you are there with the soldiers in that rubber plantation fighting for your life. Veterans who were part of the battle have given the film their tick of approval and  agree the movie is well researched and an accurate portrayal of events. Those three and a half hours in the Phuoc Tuy Province on August 18, 1966 were intense, noisy and steamy. Just when you think things can’t get any worse it begins pouring with rain.

The battle scenes had me on the edge of my seat before the moments of pure Australian larrikinism took off the edge when needed. This movie brings history to life and tells the important story of our Australian soldiers, their courage and bravery in a desperate situation.The Vietnam veteran’s stories have long been under acknowledged and this film reveals the men behind one of the most savage and decisive engagements in Anzac history. 

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan is showing in cinemas now.

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