Sunday, March 06, 2005
Longest 85 minutes you'll ever sit through
Worthy film that felt far far longer than the 85 minutes on screen. Perhaps it's the lack of a story arc or the narrator returning stateside only 2/3 of the way through the film (thought that would be the end). Some nice touches: SpongeBob SquarePants doll being used by one of the troops when playing with an Iraqi orphan; mentions of shipping Iraqis captured in roundups to Abu Ghraib; use of "flight of the valkyries" when heading off on a 'search-and-seizure' mission. The SpongeBob humour was probably unintentional - doubt they could have known that this cartoon character would enter the culture wars - but curious if the director would have mentioned Abu Ghraib as noticeably without the scandal. Pretty sure that Wagner was playing on a stereo inside the Humvee (didn't sound like a studio based soundtrack) - great example of life imitating art. Probably the strongest criticism in the film is implicit and leveled at Rumsfeld. At ½ dozen spots in the film, we'd hear Rumsfeld's voice over stating the corner has been turned at junctures such as the capture of Uday and Qusay.
Also one of the best examples of synergy or multi-media or whatever cliche you want to use here: Gunnerpalace. Great to be able to see the photo journal notes behind the story and be provided with additional backdrop. Hope this usage of website is the wave of the future for documentaries. Funniest scene is this link (one soldier providing non-verbal exposition for another's story).
Overall a far superior film to either Fahrenheit 9/11 or Control Room, and given that both the LA Weekly & WSJ gave laudatory reviews, both sides of the political spectrum should appreciate it.