12 Strong (2018)
In the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, a group of 12 Special Forces soldiers is dispatched to Afghanistan to assist a local warlord to defeat the Taliban in a key city.
Horrified by what they saw as the towers fell, the soldiers volunteer to put themselves in mortal danger to fight their country’s enemies. This action-packed war movie features a great cast, including Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the group’s commander, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, The Shape of Water) as a veteran soldier who joins the action and Michael Peña (Crash, Ant-Man) as an intelligence sergeant.
The movie is based on the book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton, which chronicles this episode in Operation Enduring Freedom, a military response to 9/11 ordered by then-President George W Bush. It is so named because, dropped into Afghan farmlands, the unit had no choice but to use the only transportation available: small horses. The last American unit to ride horses in combat prior to this was in 1942.
The events also inspired a sculpture by Douwe Blumberg, of a soldier on horseback. He said: “The visual irony of a 21st-century, high-tech trooper mounted on a ragged Afghan mountain horse, unchanged for centuries, fascinated me.” Despite the array of high-tech military gear they carried into battle, it was the trusty Afghanistan stallions that were essential to the campaign’s success.
12 Strong was nominated for two People’s Choice Awards in 2018: Favourite Drama Movie and Favourite Drama Movie Star for Chris Hemsworth.