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From the short description of the Dutch Oscar-nominated film, I thought that “Do Not Hesitate” might be a Middle Eastern variation on the theme of Walter Hill’s iconic “Southern Comfort”. The short description of the film says that a platoon of the Dutch army on a mission somewhere in the Middle East will find themselves in trouble with the locals when one of them shoots a goat. But instead of ripping off a familiar theme, Shariff Korver, a Venezuelan filmmaker who works and lives in the Netherlands, shot an exceptional combination of drama and thriller based on Jolein Laarman’s script, which tells the story of three young men who joined the army practically as children, and will return home as completely screwed up and destroyed into people.

Regardless of the fact that Erik (Joes Brauers), Roy (Spencer Bogaert) and Thomas (Tobias Kersloot) will not actually see the real war, a few days of guarding and guarding vehicles on the road will be enough for all of their lives to change completely. Things will go wrong for them when the transporter their platoon used to travel to another base breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Most of the platoon will continue their journey with the other vehicles, and seven or eight of them will remain guarding the transporter and waiting for the helicopter. Soon that small group of soldiers will split up and only Erik, Roy and Thomas will remain in that place, and they will soon be joined by a local kid whose goat Erik accidentally shot.

He heard some rustling in the bush, no one responded to the warning words, and he fired several bullets in that direction. Although the army immediately compensated the 14-year-old’s goat, gave him food and drink, the angry kid does not want to leave. The young soldiers do not know how to treat him. One suggests that they chase him away, Erik tries to please the boy who keeps yelling at them in Arabic with a friendly approach. As time passes and the helicopter does not arrive, everyone becomes more tense and restless, more sensitive and nervous, and when the soldiers run out of water supplies, they will realize that they are actually dependent on a hostile kid who they are still not sure if they should trust or not.

The strongest asset of “Do Not Hesitate” is realism and the fact that it is completely clear to us that all three soldiers are kids who have no idea what they should be doing. Of course, they have undergone military training and in theory are ready for war skirmishes, but no one could have prepared them for a situation like this. Very soon they will start arguing with each other, and really after a while we have the impression as if they fell there from some other planet. This is excellent and visually proven, because they are in the middle of nowhere, in a gorge in the middle of a rocky area where the sun is scorching during the day, and who knows who is sneaking in their immediate vicinity at night. Korver managed to wrap up this psychological drama/thriller brilliantly, so the story ends where it started, that is, in the Netherlands, but none of them are the same person they were when they left for the mission.