Rob Miller [Toby Kebbell] is a British soldier who has spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a well-trained paratrooper who has killed “hundreds” in-theater. A tragedy caused him to finally call it quits, but when he returns home to London, he finds that the war has followed him there.
“The Estate” where Miller lives is a dystopic war zone in London, the city where firearms are supposedly illegal.
It immediately reminded me of another revenge movie Harry Brown—starring Michael Caine—where he, too, is beset by oppressive crime in a lawless apartment ghetto.
As the movie opens it’s clear that Miller is retired but still keeping physically fit and situationally aware, yet he has trouble adapting to civilian life. He puts on a suit and tie but neglects to shave (I note this rather tongue-in-cheek than as an observation because that seems to be the silly trend now).
Miller reconnects with a muslim friend, “Fahad”. Whether they are friends from the war or before then, we do not know. There are many good and brave military interpreters who manager to retire in the West but England has also courted an invasion of muslim immigrants. They have proven very helpful to the “War on Terror” and have sorely tested English notions of egalitarianism.*
Fahad has a younger brother “Ryan” who has no redeeming qualities. Miller catches Ryan and 2 other “youngers” committing a robbery. When he stops them, Ryan pulls a large handgun on Miller who quickly disarms him. Showing the poverty and gun-less culture of the UK, Miller later cleans the Colt M1991A1 with WD40.
We then find out that Ryan works for the neighborhood drug pimp “Tyrone Jones” who confronts Miller and asks him to train his other thugs with tactical field craft. Jones then gives one of the most powerful monologues of the movie.
“You’ve already been working for me. The Taliban stopped the drug trade. You’re not fighting the drug trade, you’re protecting it. The Army brainwashed you into believing the invasion was about al Qaeda—capturing bin Laden. It’s all about protecting supply lines. Making sure that Afghan opium finds its way to the Russians [who transport it here]. And the whole thing is protected by the CIA. The government needs my products. It’s the only thing generating cash for the banks nowadays. Through the banks…comes out clean. Like your man Bush: you’re either with us, or against us.”
Miller reunites with Army buddy “Danny” who complains that there are no jobs for soldiers. Danny then introduces Miller to his half-brother Chris who is employing Danny and has a proposition for Miller as well. It turns out Chris is in Intelligence and already knows who Miller is. Chris says he needs Miller to help “get the job done right this time.”
A Saudi national was living the debauched high life until he went home and “found god”. He returned to the UK via Pakistan and has the backing of “any number of rich Saudis” to conduct terrorist plots. Does this hearken you to 9/11? It should.
Chris wants Miller to surveil the Saudi and gather intelligence on him.
We are never told exactly who Chris works for and Miller doesn’t ask him why he doesn’t have paid operatives to do such a job. It turns out to be a critical question.
Miller and Danny surveil the target together. It helps them stay somewhat less conspicuous. Two young, fit males hanging around an important person at alternate times are less obvious than one, but not thoroughly so.
Miller follows the Saudi to a meeting where he takes note of a young female and another male. He senses the importance of the second individual and shows his leadership by convincing Danny to switch from the Saudi to the new target. Such on-site problem-solving is the mark of a Special Forces operator but Miller is a “para”—an airborne soldier who also received intensive training.
Miller follows the target to a residence where he gains access inside and uncovers a comprehensive bomb-making lab.
Miller reports this back to a surprised Chris. Seeing that Miller is a “Type A” player, Chris takes Miller to meet “Gerry Langdon” who is with “the Home Office”, played by Brian Cox. Cox also played the treacherous government insider “William Stryker” in X-Men 2 and that gives insight into who “Gerry Langdon” is. He was the only actor I recognized which dramatically increased the movie’s realism for me.
Langdon tells Miller that there are “2,000 terrorists in UK alone” (which is no surprise because, as I said before, they are courted). Langdon is heading the “Contest 2 Program” which is training 60,000 civilians to “deal with the terrorist threat”. Langdon and his underling Chris Turner are “consultants”.
Shockingly, this is also true-to-life. Barack Obama’s “civilian security force”—
—already has a secret police.
Known as “InfraGard”, they are your bankers, neighbors and shop keepers all around you, who are feeding information to the FBI. These are the people who take Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” program to the next level. All they lack are arrest powers…for now.
The Junior G-Men of InfraGard were covered in this excellent episode of Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory.
But back to our plot.
Langdon tells Robert Miller that the woman he saw was Alayna Wallace—an informant. Al Qaeda was adapting to its environment by relying on a female student. Her dual English/Lebanese citizenship was excellent cover, yet she came to them with information about their plots.
I found actress Adi Bielski a good choice for the role as she was not the typical “super model” found in today’s movies. Again, this added to realism.
Miller becomes attached in a protective way to Alayna, connecting her to a girl he failed to save in Afghanistan.
Next we see that Fahad is fighting a losing battle to regain his brother and the neighborhood drug cartel is now working with muslim Chechens. If that ethnicity sounds vaguely familiar to you, that’s because Chechens were blamed for the Boston Marathon bombing.
Langdon orders Miller to make contact with Alayna because they are concerned she has become a double agent.
In the course of repeated contacts and surveillance, Miller is “black-bagged” by those same Chechens. He’s beat and interrogated. In gun-free England, knives work just as well for intimidation and torture.
But Miller turns the tables on his captors in believable fashion, getting slashed in the process. His buddy Danny must sew him up and help him rest. It is here we see burn scars on Miller, probably from an ambush he survived.
The next time Miller sees Fahad, he has been severely beaten. Miller goes to Jones and asks for Ryan to be returned to his brother so that they can leave “the Estate”. As Miller enters the apartment fortress, he is screened by a ring of children; the eyes of the drug lord.
Children exploited for reconnaissance and to pull triggers is also a sad reality. Not only is this a phenomena Barack Obama knows about, it’s something he has ordered more of.
As Miller approaches Jones, he is gleefully watching an al Qaeda IED propaganda video. Refusing to relinquish Fahad’s brother, Jones tells Miller that he just doesn’t get it, “We’re all somebody’s bitch.”
Alayna explains to Miller how she got involved; she arranged for 12 Pakistanis to leave the UK to receive terrorist training and then return. They composed 3 four-man teams who will target whatever they want, allowing their decentralization to make them nearly impossible to track.
But the shocking revelation is that the lead terrorist is from Pakistani Intelligence (the “ISI”) and the ISI is overseen by the CIA [and MI6].
Miller and Alayna confront Chris Turner on why the plot hasn’t been shut down and Turner claimed that he needed Alayna’s help to locate the cells to which she responds, “I thought your men were watching the cells.” Perhaps they had a different mission.
Langdon interjects that “infiltration” of al Qaeda into the ISI is not important but Alayna cuts him off and says the CIA is al Qaeda.
How humorous it is to see direct links between al Qaeda leaders like American-born Anwar al Awlaki and the U.S. government called by corporate media a “vetting breakdown”.
When Alayna is back with Miller in private she becomes visibly upset as she understands what these powerful players are doing with the “War on Terror”; “Al Qaeda defines our existence. We’re the enemy now.”
We then find out that the weapons for the big terror plot are coming in via Kosovo. Here, too, we receive real-world insight into the Clinton intervention on behalf of European muslims.
At great risk to himself, Miller intercepts the weapons and dutifully turns them over to Chris Turner but he’s starting to get the message and keeps a military-grade** M4 for himself.
Finally understanding that he’s been fleeced, Miller and Alayna go to take out one of the terror cells. It is now clear that the two of them have been used by British Intelligence, not to uncover the terror plot, but to insure that it was on schedule.
The attack on the terror cell is botched, somehow the terrorists knew they were coming, but the two working together pull it off anyway and realize that this particular cell is even staffed with Chris Turner’s Anglo henchmen.
It has long been considered a modus operandi of traitors inside the Intelligence community to put the “lone, crazed gunmen” out front but to have the real killing done by carefully-trained professionals.
Miller confirms his suspicions when he tracks Turner and watches him give the Kosovan weapons to the Pakistani agent.
It’s time to send Alayna away.
The scene at the train station is complete devoid of romance and is well-played. These are two people enmeshed in a plot that can only end in torture and death for either them or hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocents.
Miller has no friends as he tries to take matters into his own hands. His Army buddy Danny has chosen the mercenary/contractor side with his brother and informs him that Alayna has already been picked up. He has been targeted as well.
Understanding their methods, Miller prepares to be black-bagged again but manages to take advantage of what he knows is coming and dispatches Chris Turner.
Next he meets up with Gerry Langdon and we hear another powerful monologue as Langdon, at the point of Miller’s 1911, tries to explain the facts of life to him;
“the organizing principle for any society is war. The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. Today it’s oil, tomorrow it’s water. It’s the GOD businesses, guns oil drugs. There’s a problem. Our way of life is over, unsustainable and in decline so we implement demand destruction. We continue to make money as the world burns. For this to work, the people have to remain ignorant until it’s too late. That’s why we have triggers in place; 9/11, 7/7, WMD’s. A population in a permanent state of fear does not ask questions. Our desire for war becomes its desire. A willing sacrifice. Fear is justification, fear is control, fear is money.”
Gerry then explains in a trite way that Alayna has been given over to Tyrone Jones the drug lord, who works for them, and Miller finishes him, as well.
It’s time to do what Fahad asked of him.
If you read on it means you have no patience to rent this movie and see it on your own—for shame!
Clearly, director Matthew Hope had excellent insider information, as this interview discloses. His military sources allowed him to craft a coup of truth as well as depict excellent realism to include the climactic gun battle at the end of the film.
As Miller works his way through the drug lord’s apartment complex fortress his systematic targeting of threats includes an innocent woman who apparently is also the mother of an infant. This causes him to become less methodical and allows a shooter from his rear to wound him in the neck. As he bleeds out he is executed by none other than “younger” Ryan the boy thug (who I would’ve liked to see thrown off the building in any of the previous encounters).
“Realistic to a fault” is how I would sum up the end of the movie.
The lessons to be learned are that, no matter how well-trained you are, you can not go up against a Machine and win (especially if you have no clear exit or exfiltration strategy).
Fighting the Machine is a team sport and you’ve already got the cards stacked against you. If you really want a good chance of winning such a scenario, you’ll need partners on the outside and the inside.
If you have no idea that all of these shocking revelations depicted in this movie are true, then I guess it’s all an appropriate splash of cold water. But if this simply confirms what you already know, it leaves you depressed and unfulfilled.
Another movie in this genre—Assault on Wall Street—does a better job at resolving the Kobayashi Maru.
* This gang of muslim child predators and serial gang rapists is called “South Asian” and even though the story is on criminal negligence of law enforcement to stop the gang for fear of being labeled “racist” the Sydney Herald doesn’t even mention the words “muslim” or “Islam”!
** The “AR-15s” so demonized by news media and government autocrats are not capable of selective fire as military and police M4s are. Civilian weapons only fire one round with every pull of the trigger. Even now forces that could be used in a tyrannical government push for martial law have the advantage in weaponry.