A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.
A small group of adventurous American soldiers in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War are determined to steal a huge cache of gold reputed to be hidden somewhere near their desert base. Finding a map they believe will take them to the gold, they embark on a journey that leads to unexpected discoveries, enabling them to rise to a heroic challenge that drastically changes their lives. Written by
Although Spike Jonze had never acted in a film before, David O. Russell wrote the part of Conrad Vig specifically for him, and the two practised Conrad's Southern accent over the phone while Jonze directed Being John Malkovich (1999). Although Russell had to convince a wary Warner Bros. to cast an inexperienced actor in such a large role, he eventually won out. Russell said Jonze's lack of previous acting work was beneficial to the film, citing the "chaos that a nonactor brings to the set...he really shakes things up." See more »
When they are in the first "Well" bunker and Barlow runs to get the truck from the gas station he goes up some steps. One of the Iraqi's they took prisoner is tied up on the stairs. A few minutes later when the rest of the guys run upstairs with the gold, the Iraqi is gone. See more »
Are we shooting?
Are we shootin' people or what?
Are we shooting?
That's what I'm asking you!
What's the answer?
I don't know the answer! That's what I'm trying to find out!
See more »
For Sergeant Major Jim Parker, 1946 - 1998 See more »
Incredibly anti-war for a mainstream American film
In the aftermath of Desert Storm a group of soldiers find a secret map showing a bunker containing Kuwaiti gold. When they begin to go for the gold they find little resistance from an Iraqi army more concerned with killing civilians than protecting gold. The uprising had started when the US army had encouraged civilians to rebel but now will not support them.
When I first saw the trailer for this I knew nothing about it from the way it was marketed I had assumed it was going to be a modern day `Kelly's Heroes' with bright comedy and good action scenes. On first viewing I was disappointed but interested. On second viewing I now see what this film was about and how badly marketed it had been. The plot is no comedy but is really an extreme anti-war film that condemns America's approach to the Gulf War.
When our characters go after the goal they go in a gung-ho manner, seeking only riches and not interested in the plight of the people. This is how America went in not to protect the people but because of the impact the invasion was having on oil prices and reserves. The anti-war message is also hammered home in the gross close-up shots of how a bullet damages a body.
It's only in the final half hour that the film goes a little wrong looking for an ending that isn't depressing in a subject that really can't have a `happy' ending and please American audiences. It has other weaknesses some of the scenes are off subject , meaningless or just don't work. However for the majority this is a surprisingly good film that makes points that aren't seen in Hollywood films (and if this whole flag waving thing continues much longer, we won't see a counter opinion for quite a while).
The cast are good and deserve praise for choosing this film. Clooney and Wahlberg both add a large box office draw while for Jonze this made up a great summer of exposure. Ice Cube again shows that not all rappers have to do rubbish hip hop comedies to get into movies.
Overall this was betrayed by it's own marketing department and many people may not have liked it for that reason. However this is an intelligent anti-war film that has flaws but should be given respect for it's honesty and bravery.
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