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American soldiers of the 2/3 Field Artillery, a group known as the "Gunners," tell of their experiences in Baghdad during the Iraq War. Holed up in a bombed out pleasure palace built by Sadaam Hussein, the soldiers endured hostile situations some four months after President George W. Bush declared the end of major combat operations in the country.
Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.
Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan's most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban. Written by
Sundance Film Festival
And I thought "The Hurt Locker" & "...Private Ryan" were intense.
After living (because "experiencing" is too weak a word here) this film for the last 2 & 1/2 hours (the DVD extras are equal to the feature) I will not be able to see another combat film for a very very long time.
What Sebastian Junger & Tim Hetherington have captured with this doc may be the final word about soldiers in combat & their thoughts afterword.
Afghanistan has been called a place "where dynasties go to die". The men shown here mostly don't give a flying f**k about history or politics. All they are concerned about is getting one day closer to the end of their 15 month deployment in the most dangerous on Earth AND the guys on either side of them.
This is most clear-eyed view of fighting I've seen since (the excellent) "Gunner Palace". Junger/Hetherington put their own asses on the line getting their footage & wisely kept completely out of their own picture. It drags at times because it shows that fighting is about burning their own human waste, building dirt barriers & killing time before the next kill --a kill they rarely see. The interviews interlaced among the field footage are as riveting as the fighting.
BUT make no mistake the fighting is as hellaciously intense as "Black Hawk Down" & "...Ryan". However J/H pull back from the gore. There are PG-13 movies which are more graphic in their violence. The real "graphic" parts of this film are the emotions in the faces & the eyes of the men. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what comes first: the man inside or the soldier outside.
Buy the DVD. The extras are huge.
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