Saturday, August 12, 2006

The War Tapes

There is certainly no shortage of films about the War on Terror and the War / Peacekeeping in Iraq.

One movie that is gaining a lot of attention is The War Tapes. The movie, which takes the cameras out of the hands of professional cameramen and directors and puts them in the hands of 3 New Hampshire National Guardsmen stationed at Camp Anaconda in the volatile Anbar Province in Iraq, is being widely described as an unabated soldier's direct view of war.

What such descriptions neglect to consider is the importance of editing and how that can effect the story in a movie.

Perhaps it is as one review describes
Nowhere is The War Tapes preachy, nor does it attempt an easy political assessment although it cannot be termed apolitical.
It seems no doubt true that the movie has footage that a civilian would never experience from watching mainstream media. One powerful scene that has gained attention apparently shows a young Iraqi girl carrying cookies inadvertanly struck by the lead vehicle in a convoy. As that vehicle pulls over, proceeding vehicles strike the body and it is strewn about the road. In my opinion, scenes like theseare fair as they portray some of the harsh realities of war.

Certainly a great deal of editing is needed to take a full year's worth of footage from 3 different people and condense it into feature length, and let's face it, movies are made to tell stories.

Now, I've never been accused of being dovish, but this is where my concern about the film comes in.

Is it, indeed, the soldiers' views, or is it the director's view?

Another review tells us

The War Tapes falls just short of greatness, because its scope is too limited. Scranton does spend a fair amount of time documenting the home-front woes of the soldiers' wives, girlfriends, and parents, and the film's last 20 minutes is given over to the struggle of reintegrating into civilian life, alongside people who don't want to hear the details of the war. But while Scranton clearly respects the soldiers' sense of duty and patriotism, she makes it only a slight refrain in a symphony of moaning about Halliburton's $28 paper plates and the annoyance of training Iraqi policemen. [Emphasis added]
I look forward to seeing the movie, but is it a "soldier's view of war"? I'll bring a grain of salt.


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