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Americans in Iraq, insurgency rising, truth illusive. U.S. soldiers in Samarra throw boys off a bridge; one drowns. An American reporter and her Iraqi photographer pursue the story. Samarra's mayor aids the U.S. and fears the rising power of an ex-Republican Guard. The mayor uses a Baathist ex-diplomat to sell out his rival. The diplomat wants a post abroad, so he trades "intel" for safe passage. The reporter's lover, a CIA man in Baghdad, pushes for progress on public works in Sumarra; he promotes cooperation with Rafeeq, an intellectual whom other Americans call an insurgent. Rafeeq is in danger. All roads lead to the village of Al Tawr. War at its most opaque: Iraqis call it "the situation." Written by
This film sums up what I have come to believe about the war in Iraq, and does it very well. Almost all of the other comments on it in this forum are accurate, in my estimation. It's remarkable that so much was accomplished with so little money-roughly one percent of the budget of Apocalypse Now, for example. The production values are so high in most respects that I have to conclude that the confusing ambient sound track was a conscious choice of the director's. The story is told, at times, from the viewpoint of the Iraqi characters, a remarkable feat in itself. At least a third of the dialogue is in Arabic, with subtitles. Like "Three Kings", the film shows the Iraqis not as villains or caricatures, but just as people stuck in a crummy situation for which America is responsible. One of the other reviewers quotes Damien Lewis' character stating the basic premise of the film:"There is no truth, you know....It's just that the truth shifts according to each person you talk to." The reviewer came close, but he missed one line that summed up The Situation for me: "...because the truth is covered over with layers of agenda."
Finally, if, ten or fifteen years from now, anyone is still interested in what was going on in the American war in Iraq, this film stands as the most convincing description I've seen.
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