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.
On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.
Documentary portraying the actions of U.S. corporate contractors in the U.S.-Iraq war. Interviews with employees and former employees of such companies as Halliburton, CACI, and KBR suggest that government cronyism is behind apparent "sweetheart" deals that give such contractors enormous freedom to profit from supplying support and material to American troops while providing little oversight. Survivors of employees who were killed discuss the claim that the companies cared more for profit than for the welfare of their own workers, and soldiers indicate that the quality of services provided is sub-standard and severely in contradiction to the comparatively huge profits being generated. Also depicted are the unsuccessful attempts by the filmmakers to get company spokesmen to respond to the charges made by the interviewees.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story of the connection between the privately held corporations that have profited from the war in Iraq without oversight and the Bush administration has been revealed in bits and pieces over the years. This film attempts to connect the links and highlight the impact that it has had on the lives of those most affected. It is admirable that a first time director would tackle such a feat, but it could be done more successfully. Better editing and a little more research into the issues could have made this film stronger. There are a few things that I find annoying in the film. First is the sloppy use of Powerpoint like graphs & tables. The directors show names of companies and individuals in boxes and lines in between them, but never really backs this up with any explanation of what the boxes & lines represent, much less actually proving that links between the many people mentioned actually exist. The directors also make heavy-handed use of dramatic music, which usually gets on my nerves. If the story is dramatic (which it is) and effectively presented (this could have been done with better editing), such hyperbole isn't needed. A lot of the information has been previously reported in The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor & Democracy Now, what this documentary adds is the personal toll that the privatization of war has had on those who fight it. Many of the interviews are very good, though a bit repetitive in their message. A clearer structure to the film, either by a timeline or using an omniscient narrator, would have made it stronger. As it stands the film is repetitive & I found myself (someone already familiar with the story) nodding off at about the half way point. Some talking heads (NGO representatives, academics, etc.) would have also strengthened this film and give it a bit more analytical edge to it.
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