Dramatized version of the story of CNN's Gulf War coverage featuring "The Boys from Baghdad": the battle over access, the fight to keep the technology up and running.. and the decision whether to risk their lives behind enemy lines once the bombing starts, in order to get the story of a lifetime. Written by
Dustin Hoffman stated in a 1994 interview with Larry King that he was set to play Robert Wiener in this movie, directed by Barry Levinson. He also said that Levinson was considering Jeff Goldblum for the part of Peter Arnett. See more »
When Robert and Ingrid are sitting in the bar talking, Robert lights a cigarette. When we next cut back to Robert, his cigarette is unlit. See more »
[First lines spoken as characters in the film, preceded by title cards, archival movie dialog, and news announcements]
Baghdad is me.
You're supposed to be in Berlin.
Fuck Berlin. The wall's down. Baghdad is me, Eason.
You've never even been to Baghdad.
Close enough. Jerusalem.
I wouldn't bring up Jerusalem if I were you. It's not a point in your favor.
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This film is a well-written and acted live-action documentary of Robert Wiener's experiences working as a CNN correspondent in Baghdad during the Gulf War. Overall, it is pretty good. The speeches all resonate, and it is good to see some of the atrocities committed by Saddam's army brought to light again; revisionist Americans love to paint the Gulf War as a "quest for oil", just as they love to browbeat America for using the atomic bomb during WWII. Obviously there are many sides to any story, and for the most part "Live from Baghdad" does a good job of showing what was really happening in Iraq, along with serving the Americans an occasional slice of humble pie for their brashness and xenophobia.
Interestingly, the weakest part of the movie is the director. Mick Jackson has a lot of experience (I'm amazed to find out that he directed Steve Martin's "L.A. Story"), but his work here falls into two distinct categories: workmanlike and/or irritating. The workmanlike scenes aren't so bothersome. But occasionally he'll pull a trick out of his hat, and it's always hackneyed - particularly his fascination with long shots of people staring. This is one of those art house things that you just have to suffer through, along with the excessively talky relationship between Wiener and Ingrid. It is a distinctly American conceit, as seen in such dreck as "Pearl Harbor", to take something as colossal as a war and use it as a backdrop for a hamfisted love story. I also found it a little unsettling that the reporters were laughing and slapping each other on the back after the bombing, while outside their relatively safe hotel people were picking their loved ones out of the rubble.
It is definitely a gigantic commercial for CNN, but you know that going in. The guy worked for CNN. If you watch a documentary about Colonel Sanders, you have to expect some fried chicken.
Some people have dismissed the film as propaganda; I must point out that while it does paint our involvement in the Gulf War in a positive light, it makes no reference to the modern situation except to state that Saddam Hussein is still in power. If you were against the war, then of course there's no way you will like this film. But if you were against it without knowing anything about it except some friend of yours said "we're doing it for oil!", then you should do quite a bit of research ... and this film is as good a place as any to start.
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