Lockdown Movie: The Siege of Jadotville (2016) a Great ‘Against the Odds’ War Film



While Zulu (1964) and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) are often thought of as two of the best ‘under siege’ movies of all-time. I would humbly submit as a worthy addition to this august body, 2016’s Netflix exclusive The Siege of Jadotville.


The Siege of Jadotville | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix


Expertly helmed by frequent U2 video director Richie Smyth, the movie is based on true events. In 1961 Irish UN peacekeepers found themselves under siege by overwhelming numbers of Congolese rebels and sneaky French mercenaries (who were clandestinely operating with the approval of President de Gaulle) with the aim of securing valuable mineral rights.


In what became a text-book case of how to defend a weak position the Irish commander Pat Quinlan’s force of 158 lightly armed troops held off 3,000+ rebels and mercenaries – and a freaking jet. 300 of the enemy combatants were killed – none of the Irish company. The Irish only surrendered with their ammo ran out – and what thanks did they get?


Feck all, in fact at one point ‘Jadotville Jack’ was a term of abuse in Ireland, meaning someone guilty of cowardly behaviour. This was only rectified in 2017, when the Company received well deserved recognition for their courage from the Irish Government. Better late than never, although not for Quinlan, who died in 1997.


The Siege of Jadotville is a bit of a ‘boys’ movie – I found myself rat-a-tat-tatting with the Irish as they return fire and blow shit up. I’ve seen it at least four times and have yet to get tired of it.


Siege of Jadotville (Second battle)


The unshowy cast (led by Jamie Dornan and Jason O’Mara) do a believable job, aided by the boot camp training they endured before the picture was shot.  You may also notice Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton in Game of Thrones), the ubiquitous Mark Strong, and French actor Guillaume Canet in the cast, all managing to make in an impression in an ensemble piece.


So check out The Siege of Jadotville; as the Irish say, it’s ‘Savage’ (great).

Canet as the arrogant (quel surprise) French mercenary commander



Add it to your Netflix queue.

Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'