Directed by Mikael Håfström (Rite , Escape Plan) and starring Anthony Mackie, and the rather unknown Damson Idris (Black Mirror) – Outside the Wire mixes some science fiction, with war genre and a good dose of technological suspense.
Now, if in the midst of futuristic border conflicts, state-of-the-art robots and the characters betrayals and ulterior motives you are still wondering what was going on, do not worry. It is time for Outside the Wire: Explained.
1 | Where and when do the events of the film take place?
Outside the Wire takes place in 2036, in the midst of a conflict in Eastern Europe involving Russia, Ukraine, and of course the United States.
2 | What is the war in the movie all about?
In the context of the film, a group of Ukrainian fanatics called the Krasnys aim to integrate Ukraine with Russia, as in the old days of the Soviet Union. Of course, a good part of the Ukrainians does not agree with such an idea, and they have formed a resistance.
The war between the Krasnys and the resistance has been intervened by the UN, trying to mediate with the creation of a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), but the UN left, and the only actor that remained there supposedly on a peace mission was the United States.
Now, something important to note here is that the Krasnys are supported by Russia, and the Resistance, while taking advantage of the help provided by the United States, believes that this presence prevents them from reaching some kind of agreement with the Krasnys. Hence, peace.
3 | Who is Viktor Koval and what is his goal?
Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk) is the leader of the Krasnys and his goal is to gain access to Perimeter, a Russian defense system that literally was built to launch a massive nuclear attack against any hostile country to the Soviet Union.
Koval does not really want to join Russia, but to become a nuclear power himself and revive the Soviet Union but under its command.
4 | What is really Leo?
Leo is a state-of-the-art android, capable of having emotions and empathy for human beings, so within his programming he is allowed to feel pain. In 2036 the idea of having robotic soldiers is already a reality with the inclusion in war tasks of the so-called Gumps, rather elemental robots, but with Leo a gigantic leap is taken, since it allows to have a machine with a high level of resistance and strength, capable of generating strategies at quantum speed.
5 | What is Leo’s plan? Why did he bring Harp to work with him?
Within his first-rate analysis, Leo realized that his very existence, that of a prototype of a robotic super soldier, would make the United States, once again, an unparalleled military power, which would make other countries, such as Russia, very nervous to the point to do anything to keep up, as they did with the Atomic Bomb, and thus generate – again – tensions and satellite wars, in the style of the Cold War, with the burden of dead, displaced and orphans that this entails.
In order to force the United States to leave the program, it occurs to Leo that he becomes a threat, but he knows he needs someone who plays the hero to his villain façade. Leo manages to convince Harp that he wants the Perimeter nuclear codes to exterminate the United States and thus prevent it from continuing to intervene in conflicts, which instead of ending, seem to drag on indefinitely.
But Harp calculates very well what Harp is going to do, and really wants the boy to stop him just in time.
7 | What does the end of the Risk Zone mean? What is the message of the movie?
The entire film is Harp’s journey to understand that what he understands as collateral damage, that is casualties from some perspective, necessary to achieve a greater good, have a face and a story, and are not simply numbers used to compare.
In this sense, the film confronts – like many, many other films – the conflict between utilitarianism and the deontological moral approach, in which acts are judged on their moral value, and not on their numerical impact.
In the end, when Harp walks back into his life, he no longer does so as the cold arrogant drone driver, but as a man who understands the meaning of a life, and how everything possible should be done to save it.
Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.