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Recon review – GIs on a mission to nowhere | War films

The Tenet-style action “rewind” in Recon’s opening scene suggests this adaptation of Richard Bausch’s 2008 novel Peace, based on his grandfather’s wartime experiences, might offer more than the average second world war thriller. Don’t get your hopes up. There’s no time travel, nor multi-perspective narrative tricks, nor even an innovative depiction of trauma’s impact on memory. Recon takes place in just the single dimension of reality, and a rather leaden one at that.

Alexander Ludwig (Vikings) stars as Marson, a US army corporal stationed somewhere in Italy, who is sent trudging into the mountains by a callous commanding officer on a pointless and potentially suicidal reconnaissance mission. He and his small crew are irritable, exhausted and haunted by a recently witnessed war crime, all of which they articulate at length as they struggle through the snow. Their guide is an elderly farmer (Franco Nero, AKA Mr Vanessa Redgrave; furnishing the film with some Italian suavity) who was unfortunate enough to have crossed their path. He may or may not be a secret Nazi sympathiser leading them into a trap, and his habit of mumbling, “I had a family … tutti morti,” doesn’t do much to allay suspicions.

• Recon is available on digital platforms from 18 January.

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