Dave's Rating:


… cooled-down, grunt's-eye view …

Who's in It: Members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion of the 505th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army

What's the Deal? In case you haven't been paying attention lately, the United States is at war in Iraq. The country is bitterly divided and political documentaries on the subject have been, after the model of Fahrenheit 9/11, hot-headed on both sides. Enter this cooled-down, grunt's-eye view, shot in Fallujah, in which enlisted men lay it down with no agenda other than to show frustration, belief in their mission, bitterness, senses of humor, love of heavy metal, distaste for Vice President Cheney and astonishment at Britney Spears.

But Mostly They're Just Bored: There's a lot of downtime for these guys, and it's filled with ball-busting over who's more muscle-vain, waging political arguments (at one point they're told not to dis the Bush administration on camera, so one soldier waits for a private moment to get his licks in) and watching Slayer videos.

Taking Sides: Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds are admittedly opposed to the war, but they're to be commended not only for creating a levelheaded documentary that doesn't disallow views that contradict their own, but also for capturing the complicated motivations of their subjects.

Under Pressure: Aside from gunfire and explosions, the soldiers have to deal with bewildered local men who demand to know what the United States will do about their bombed-out city's lack of water and electricity, as well as fury over a woman arrested and taken away for interrogation. It gets tense.

Dip: It's a noun and a verb. It's smokeless tobacco that you put between your cheek and gum, and then you carry a cup around with you everywhere you go to collect your brown spit. These good ol' boys dip a lot.

Weirdest Quote: "I kind of enjoy getting shot at. It keeps the energy up … keeps it interesting."


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