Opening 17 Aug 2023
Kandahar is a place and, important to this story, is only 400 kilometers from the crux of the matter. Not far, but “it’s what’s in between.” Gerard Butler’s flawed character, Tom Harris, is a professional, “the job dictates everything.” A freelance undercover operative, currently his assignment for the CIA is in the Iranian desert; his territory mostly encompasses Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but home is another life away in England and his daughter’s graduation demands he be there. Concurrently, unbeknownst Luna (Nina Toussaint-White), a British media journalist, is being monitored by the Iranian government due to sensitive suspect material. Until all hell breaks loose. Iranian security forces (Bahador Foladi) pay a visit. Concurrently, at a clandestine meeting Kahil Nasir (Ali Fazal), Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and Bashar (Vassilis Koukalani), Taliban, talk candidly… in English. Meanwhile, the job is done for Tom and collaborator Oliver (Tom Rhys Harries) when CIA colleague/friend Roman (Travis Fimmel) asks Tom to stop by before his flight home; turns out Roman’s offer is too good to ignore. Tom meets his interpreter "Mo" (Navid Negahban) and they are underway when a CIA initiated action sets off chain reactions that vibrate across the globe.
Director Ric Roman Waugh’s gripping geopolitical thriller with Mitchell LaFortune’s astute, carefully constructed screenplay moves swiftly, confidently from one gameplayer/position to another as tension, action increase. Editor Colby Parker Jr.’s pacing leaves very little wasted space, which MacGregor’s visually effective, striking cinematography fills to bursting. Vincent Reynaud’s production design and David Buckley’s score tie off loose ends. A purposeful result from seeing Kandahar is it’s helpful to understanding all the different factions and societies’ cultural aspects at work in this region. (Marinell Haegelin)