In 1942 the Japanese army invades Papua New Guinea, with Port Moresby in their sights and Australia their ultimate goal it’s up to a ragtag group of untrained ill-equipped Australian militia to stop them. Cut off from the outside world, with no supplies and only rumours of reinforcements, in the most inhospitable and perilous terrain they must fight for their lives along the Kokoda track.
Based on a true story of mates, power struggles, fear and courage, Kokoda epitomises the Australian fighting spirit.
Being an Australian production, Kokoda has none of the spit and polish of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster and at times you do find yourself thinking things could have been done better. But as you dwell on it, you start to realise that this is how it was, the gritty, harsh reality of war is brought to the viewer in full force. After a slow start, introducing the characters and forming a foundation for the rest of the film, the story slips from war movie genre to that of a survival horror.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a war movie that shows the abject terror of combat with an unknown, unseeable enemy. The toll of witnessing the decimation of your squad is clearly portrayed on the faces and attitudes of the surviving soldiers. The horror is almost over and now it’s a feat of endurance as they battle their way back to the relative safety of their merger base and the hope of help.
Kokoda is an unflinching look at the birth of a legend. It’s hard to watch in places but is an ultimately rewarding story of sacrifice and quite possibly a turning point in the war against the Japanese.
Food for thought:
Its only when you rise up to the challenge that you truly know what you can achieve.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Violence & Offensive Language.
Duration: 92 mins.
Genre: Action, Drama, War.
Director: Alister Grierson.
Actors: Jack Finsterer, Travis McMahon, Simon Stone, Luke Ford.
Release Date: Available now.