Saturday, July 7

"This is War"

A's father and A and I went to go see "This is War" at the Hollywood Theatre this evening.


"This is War" is a remarkable non-political documentary about the experiences of an Oregon National Guard unit in their own words using their own video. With the near-ubiquity of digital video recording devices and Internet connectivity, this is the first war where those of us back home can see what the soldiers are seeing in near-realtime. This film captures the essence of what it is to be an infantry soldier in Iraq: hot, dusty, boring, terrifying, bloody.

The film relies primarily on the words of the soldiers themselves. Both on video they shot themselves while in Iraq, as well as in interviews after they returned home. The images are shockingly violent, the language unsurprisingly profane, and the message ambiguous. It's absolutely not something I'd want to show to young children. On the other hand, it's exactly the sort of thing the teens and adults of this country need to see.

The film doesn't try to tell the audience what to think, rather it attempts to portray the soldiers' experience as vividly and accurately as possible. While I think it succeeds for the most part, I think the violence was somewhat toned down for the film to make it more palatable for a wider, largely-sheltered American audience. I walked out of the theater after the film certain the segments on Fallujah did not include all the footage it could have. On the other hand, had they included more graphic violence, the filmmakers would have risked alienating their potential audience and negating the film's purpose.

All in all, I think the film was excellently-done. Absolutely worth seeing. Bravo to the filmmakers for producing a gripping and respectful portrayal of these soldiers' experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review, I'll have to check this out -- as hard as it may be to watch.