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March 2003. America declares war on Iraq. American photojournalist Alan Blaine is consumed by the images he captures on film and is determined to unfold the carnage of war. But, as the ... See full summary »

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March 2003. America declares war on Iraq. American photojournalist Alan Blaine is consumed by the images he captures on film and is determined to unfold the carnage of war. But, as the years violently fade, his passion turns into an addictive obsession that costs him his family and peers, and leads him on a journey of choices and, down a path he has never ventured. Written by Dustin M. Thomas

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Short | Drama

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21 August 2008 (USA)  »

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$20,000 (estimated)
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1.85 : 1
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Interesting if not very realistic...
13 January 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

An interesting five minute short that takes a look at a young photojournalist who is obsessed with getting back to Iraq to cover the war the moment he returns home.

Some of the problems of short films are very apparent in this one - shallow characters with no real depth who seem to be archetypes, but not really great ones, being the biggest problem.

The acting is acceptable, given the stilted and unrealistic conversations that take place. Visually the piece is well filmed and tends toward a minimalist style, especially in its scenes that are supposed to take place in the middle east.

As a photojournalist myself, was puzzled at the fact a hot-shot young photographer would head into Iraq with an old manual film camera instead of a new digital... essentially useless in today's world of digital transmission and instant deadlines.

As a fan of soundtrack music, I do have to comment on the score to this short - it was ethnically inspired and obviously designed to put the viewer in a "middle east" frame of mind, which it did quite effectively. The downside to it was the entire score seemed to be the same thing over and over, and although it did set the tone, the vocals are quite simply incredibly annoying, comparable almost to Inuit throat chanting at times... an interesting auditory journey for a short while, but far too annoying to be used exclusively or extensively as it was here.

The film claims to be an exploration of the photographers addictive obsession with the war in Iraq which leads him on a journey of choices. That isn't what one sees in the short - photojournalist Alan Blaine just falls down the same old paths he seems to have fallen down many times before, never considers the cost of his actions and never seems to try to make a decision - he seems to be an automaton who will only be happy back in Iraq, leaving the viewer to question why he would even bother returning home to the US anyway? Given the statistics presented at the beginning of the film, the ending will come as no surprise to anyone.

I will recommend this film to my friends - it is a good effort at tackling a complex plot, albeit in too short a time. Perhaps even two minutes more would have made the story much deeper and the characters much more multi-dimensional if the filmmakers used that time to explain Blaine's obsession, and how he gets into the film's final predicament.


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