In the Line of Sight
30 Apr 2022
Kelsey Rushworth, Alex Bustamante
Taking a life can’t be an easy task. The idea of doing it would revolt most people. However, for some people it’s their job - Den and Monty were snipers in the British army for around 20 years, serving around the world in various tours. ‘In the Line of Sight’ is a short documentary telling their experiences of fighting in modern warfare, and giving an idea of what it’s like to be a sniper in the modern era.
They both joined the armed forces in 1992 and quickly became a partnership both in and out of service, forming a friendship only deepened by their shared experiences on the battlefield. Although the young, impressionable men that signed up all those years ago are now much wiser, they still share that same youthful edge that makes them all the more intriguing and drawn out people. Both Monty and Den seem like the kind of people you’d meet down at the local Wetherspoon’s on a night out - it’s what makes them so likeable.
They have a chemistry which no actors would ever be able to replicate, bouncing off each other and sharing in each others company the way only people who have been through some really tough stuff do. To say they went through some tough stuff would be an understatement. Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, they saw firsthand the devastation brought to those countries by war and terror.
Wearing they’re camouflaged suits they were often the priority targets for enemy counterparts - it was a matter of not being seen and seeing the enemy. Fortunately they don’t have to worry about quite the same perils as they trek across the Brecon Beacons - a sight which really takes away from the genuine emotional depth of the moment.
Nevertheless, the moment those brief intermissions are over, you’re quickly brought right back into the troubles, and good times, which Monty and Den experienced in the armed forces. Monty mentions that in retrospect they remember the good times, and that he has just as many good memories as he has bad ones. To an outsider, someone who would never dream of fighting in a war, this is surprising - we’re brought up to think that a soldier’s life is a misery.
That’s what ‘In the Line of Sight’ does best - it humanises Monty and Den so that by the end we’re clinging onto their every word. Directors Kelsey Rushworth and Alex Bustamante do a really good job of presenting them as empathetic, ordinary blokes; something which many documentaries of the same nature struggle to do. The empathy extends to the ‘enemy’ soldiers, who, Monty is keen to reiterate, were just humans the same as you and me. At times like these it’s messages like this which are particularly poignant.
If you can get over the sight of two armed and fully camouflaged soldiers trotting through the Brecon Beacons, marking out their route, then you’ll find ‘In the Line of Sight’ to be a deeply emotional short, and more than a little poignant too. There’s one line in particular - ‘it’ll happen today and it’ll happen in the future’. War is a sad inevitability, we mustn’t let it take away out humanity.