An American movie for an American audience?
This movie despite being largely fictional does contain a very heavy amount of fact. Despite the fact that the names have been changed, you have a reporter from a respectable media institute who made false claims, a country who went to war on those claims without concrete verification, and highly stationed bureaucrats who don't listen to what those on the ground - who are
actually competent and know what they are doing - are telling them. That's a fairly accurate description of the Iraq War. It's no surprise that this movie has been so derided by American critics and labelled as anti-American; like all good fiction, it shows up the flaws in its contextual situation through a woven story - it actually criticises a country which until now as labelled all criticism against it as "against the principles of freedom".
No wonder one critic actually called this movie "slander". It shows up the ineptitude in America's handling of a prolonged situation of conflict that is still causing thousands of unnecessary deaths on both sides, and a broken country brought to anarchy that still has not healed despite America's promises of liberation and democracy - YMMV whether tyranny in the form of a Stalin-istic dictator is better than pure anarchy. The only thing that this movie didn't mention was that the prolonged conflict in the Middle East is actively encouraging jihadists and those who now have a forum to preach their mutated perspective on the Qur'an. You may have noticed by now my bias on this subject
, but I'm not the only one.
The one thing this movie does which no one on either side of the "American/Allies-Iraq war" debate can deny is that it shows clearly that now it is too late to pull out. The damage is already done, and the only way to try to make any future that isn't filled with disaster is to stick it through to the end. And I think that this is really the message that this film shows by the end credits: no matter how America and the rest of the world got involved, we're there now, and we're stuck until we figure things out.
I'm not the only non-American out there who thought it was high time this movie was made. This film is most certainly Anvilicious
, and those anvils most definitely needed to be dropped
14th Jul 11
30th Jul 11
30th Jul 11
I get what you're saying.
Imperial Life in the Emerald City
goes into describing in-depth how the Iraq war was the cumulative effort of a lot
of people either making a bad situation worse through ignorance, misdirection, or misapplication of American values to a country with no system to respond to them, or just a huge amount of people trying to pursue their own political and self-serving agendas with no regard for the consequences, with the few people who did know what they were doing getting shafted in the process. The biggest flaw in this movie - and it's a big one - is that it simplifies all
of this down to archetypal personification in just a few characters, and skips over a huge degree of the political machinations that brought American occupation to its knees. Honestly, I don't know if it would have been really possible to be true to the book itself - what with the depth and detail it goes into - but I know that for people who do
know quite a bit about the Iraq-war this movie pisses them off solely on how vastly oversimplified it makes the situation. It's very understandable, and I wouldn't blame anyone who felt that way.
However, I still tend to like this movie because it is one of the very few out there that actually confronts some of the realities of the Iraq war in any shape or form - that and that it's a competently directed an acted action movie in an age where Hollywood seems to be strangling my appreciation of action flicks. Until a more accurate/competent Iraq-war movie comes on to the scene, I still feel like I'll have to keep this movie in the "like" portion on my sliding scale of movies I love and hate. That said, "In the Valley of Elah" is a superior movie, both technically and with the message it carries, so if you've seen the Green Zone
and were interested in the political message, I'd definitely recommend seeing that movie as well.
Also, for anyone out there who has any interest in the Iraq-war, read Imperial Life in the Emerald City.
If not the, it will be one of the best Iraq-war books you will read, so if you're interested in that kind of thing, definitely go find a copy.
Okay I've rambled on for long enough now...
2nd Aug 11
I didn't notice any American movie critics hating on the movie for being anti-American except for the ones known to far right. Nice strawmanning in opening paragraph BTW.
23rd Aug 11
2nd Sep 11
I think you missed the wish fulfilment part where the honest hard-working every day American does his best to put everything right! It gives the whole thing a more fairy-tale this-can-be-fixed feel and places the blame on anonymous bad guys than a critical bloody and messy movie would
2nd Sep 11
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