Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Documentary: No End In Sight

What? Another movie about Iraq? The answer is a resounding YES from the chorus, but with an addendum of "but it's not what you think"... Well, actually it is if you go by it's press kit description of, "a jawdropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality."

But that is where that comparison between this film and the usual political ascerbic ends. Even the movie's website gives an inkling that this could be another moveon.org hitjob on an already weakened Bush administration. But the film dramaticaly turns what could have been drab recitiation into intriguing storytelling, and documents the events following the fall of Bagdhad, including 3 principle errors, which may have led to the rise of the Iraqi insurgency.

The film contains numerous interviews, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine, General Jay Garner, Lawrence Wilkerson, Iraqi civilians, reporters and U.S. soldiers. These interviews slowly devulge a timeline which shockingly documents how allowing these three major errors in policy had far-reaching ramifications:

1. Allowing the widespread looting following the fall of Bagdhad,
2. De-ba'athification of the government,
3. Disbanding the Iraqi army

All these conditions created widespread mistrust of the U.S. forces, rampant unemployment, the exodus of Iraq's professional/ middle class and a rise in religious fundamentalism. All these factors helped to create an Iraqi insurgency.

Shocking at times, but well paced and evenhanded, this film is an exercise in documentary storytelling, using a very good 'connects-the-dots' approach, and is far more than the usual 'talking heads'. Cut from over 200 hours of interviews, calling this film thorough is an understatement. Opens June 27.


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