Doc/Fest 2017 Review: Armed With Faith

There can be few jobs I’d less like to have than working for a Bomb Disposal Unit. So working as a bomb disposal officer in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, where they have almost no specialist equipment is, if it were possible, even more scary. Why would anyone in their right mind go up to a potential bomb? “It’s my job,” one of the stoic characters in the film tells us. What is most astonishing of all, in the interviews and profiles of the incredibly brave men in this film, working in nightmare conditions, is when one of them actually sympathises with the disillusioned people who plant the bombs! He has no sympathy for those who build them, but sees anyone persuaded to blow themselves up as much a victim as anyone else. The interviews with the families of these brave men are the hardest to watch. While they admire the work their husbands and fathers do, they constantly live in fear of the worst. And the worst is only a heartbeat away, which the film crew capture as they go on patrol. The aftermath, and the effect this has on one member of the Bomb Disposal Unit, makes for a compelling and vital documentary.

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