Movies that mimic documentaries often fall short in both emotional impact and believability. The September Tapes, by First Look Pictures, breaks that trend.
A man lost his young wife on Sepember 11, 2001, a passenger on one of the planes. In desparation and dissatisfied with the US military’s progress in finding and killing bin Laden, Don Larson sells all of his worldly possessions to finance a trip to Afghanistan to get answers on the hunt for bin Laden from the ground.
At first armed only with a camera and flanked by an interpreter/guide, Wali, and camerman, Sonny, Larson starts off in Kabul the day after Afghanistans Vice President, Haji Abdul Qadeer, was assassinated in his Kabul office.
Action in this film starts quickly: Black-clad Taliban fighters kill a motorist outside Larson’s window. A meeting with arms dealers goes ary when Wali, the interpreter, freaks. Larson gets himself arrested, hoping to meet Taliban fighters and al Qaeda detainees in the Kabul jail.
Instead of fighters, though, Larson meets General Dil, Afghanistan’s head of narcotics enforcment. Dil puts Larson in touch with a Babak Ali, a bounty hunter who is preparing a trip to Khost on the Pakistan border where he intends to ambush bin Laden’s entourage.
Despite $25,000 bounties for the heads of Westerners, Larson decides to take Wali and Sonny out of the relative safety of Kabul and into Afghanistan’s post-Taliban badlands.
The film makes you wish you were Don Larson–not because of his loss, but becuase of his courage. He pushes on with full knowledge that his life is in jeopardy. He pushes on to places that weaker men would not go. He does the things that most of only talk about: hunting bin Laden. As with so many war correspondents, circumstances force Larson to take sides in battle. After an encounter with Muslim thieves on the road to Khost, Babak gives Larson an AK-47 and ammo. Within a day, Larson puts the gun to good use, wounding or killing two al Qaeda fighters in an ambush of Babak.
Go rent September Tapes today. Tomorrow, you’ll be asking the government, When the hell are we going to kill that son of a bitch?