2008 // USA - Morocco // Daniel Myrick // November 16, 2008 // Theatrical Print (Landmark Tivoli Theater)
The Objective is director Daniel Myrick's first feature film since his auspicious debut, The Blair Witch Project, a clockwork vice of old school terror. Unfortunately, this sophomore effort is just an uninspired genre two-step, an unmemorable The X-Files episode drawn out to feature length, with all the bland beats that implies. In the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, a squad of soldiers and a local translator follow the lead of a shifty CIA agent (Jonas Ball), who fiddles with gizmos and remains stingy with the mission details. Ostensibly, they're seeking out a holy man for propaganda purposes, but you don't need me to tell you there's something else going on. Ball narrates in a grave monotone, tossing around Conrad-style mutterings plucked from the middle of creative writing class grading curve. Otherwise, The Objective isn't really an awful film, just so thoroughly recycled in its details and limp in its execution that one wonders how Myrick managed to spin it out to 90 minutes. Admittedly, the film coaxes some arresting and terrifying sights here and there, lunging at Western fears of Islam and American illusions of omnipotence. Given that the portentous conclusion explains nothing, however, I wonder why I bothered.