Set and shot in Afghanistan, Jirga is the story of former Australian soldier, Mike (played brilliantly by Sam Smith), who returns to Afghanistan after three years to find the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war. Seeking forgiveness, he gets a driver to take him from Kabul to Taliban held Kandahar where he puts his life in the hands of the village justice system - the Jirga.
Told with the intimacy and realism of a documentary, this is actually a drama set against the background of the immense Afghan landscape; sharp mountains, buttes, stony deserts and dust. But there are also surreal moments in a pristine, blue lake with a pink swan paddle boat. The young Australian is the outsider and definitely no longer in the dominant position he was. It's a measured story of the meeting of cultures and a perspective on Australia's longest war that we have not seen before. The action throws up moral and ethical choices for all, making this beautifully crafted thriller concise, powerful and compelling. The portrayals are rich and the characters are easy to identify with, the camera work superb. Jirga is highly recommended
Review from andrewbunney, 27 September 2018 on IMDB.com
Before seeing this film, I heard that it had an interesting history. It was to be shot in Pakistan, because Afghanistan was considered too dangerous. However, the director was not allowed to make it in Pakistan, so he sent most of his crew home, and just a few hardy folks went with him into Afghanistan itself, because he did not want the whole project to be wasted. As a viewer, I was very pleased indeed with the result, but quite nervous along the journey that's for sure. He had a mission to accomplish, and we watch as his perceptions of the country change, and, as the film progresses, we all begin to see what these people actually consider to be important. He has to adjust (and does so) in order to have any likelihood of succeeding. Watching this gradual realization of what he must do is fascinating. The mix of people, both old and young, is very engaging, and we also try to work out how we would interact with these people in the situations encountered. The towns and countryside of Afghanistan also play a vital role in the story, much of it being mountainous desert. So the film has a great mix of tense relationships, coping with a foreign culture and an unforgiving environment, handled with skill and a lightness of touch. Definitely worth the journey.
Review from marklear-1, 25 October 2018 on IMDB.com