The Boy and the Goat

Do Not Hesitate

Director: Shariff Korver

Cast: Joes Brauers, Spencer Bogaert, Tobias Kersloot, Omar Alwan

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes.

This film is in Dutch with English Subtitles.

Venezuelan born director Shariff Korver brings a taut military drama to the big screen in this well-edited razor sharp drama Do Not Hesitate about three young Dutch army soldiers who are left in the desert during a foreign peace keeping force that goes wrong. The setting could be Afghanistan, but the actual location where the film was shot is probably in Greece.

The soldiers, Erik, Roy and Thomas played respectively by Joes Brauers (Quo Vadis Aida?), Spencer Bogaert and Tobias Kersloot land up in an unpredictable situation when a young boy comes into the site range and demands the return of his goat which was accidentally killed.

The immaturity of the soldiers combined with macho bravado of trying to keep sane in an isolated location slowly brews over as the try to deal with young boy played by Omar Alwyn. As the three soldiers are left to guard a military vehicle by themselves in alien territory, the situation regarding their food and water deteriorates along with the relationship between all three, with Erik trying to lead and Roy and Thomas always at odds with his commands. As they are all so young themselves, possibly in their early twenties, and without the guidance of wise council, they do not handle the situation with the young boy very well, as the prisoner becomes increasingly vocal even though he does lead the soldiers to drinking water.

From the opening sequence of Erik playing the drums loudly in his parent’s home before he goes off to the military, to the bizarre closing sequence at a nightclub in Crete, whereby all three soldiers decompress, the reality of what they have done sinks in even though they are bound by a fraternal secrecy often formed in the masculine world of the military, where civilized rules don’t apply. Jose Brauers is excellent as the leader Erik.

Director Shariff Korver fortunately keeps Do Not Hesitate engaging, taut as a wire and completely filled with anger, potential violence and remorse. Even in one of the penultimate scenes all the young soldiers remain silent when question by a military appointed psychologist.

There is omniscient danger in Do Not Hesitate but the most violence comes from the three soldiers, whose pent-up rage is eventually released.

Do Not Hesitate was the official entry from the Netherlands to be considered for the Best International Feature film Oscar for the 94th Academy Awards in 2022. Do Not Hesitate gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is a worthy improvement in contemporary Dutch cinema. Recommended viewing for those that enjoy a Dutch version of Brian de Palma’s Casualties of War.

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