Dave White
Why We Fight Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

… smug …

Who's in It: William Solomon, Karen Kwiatkowski, Anh Duong, John McCain, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Gore Vidal, John S.D. Eisenhower

The Basics: You Daily Show-heads are gonna eat this one up. It's a documentary about the American military industry and how it needs war to keep its economy going. Not that it's a funny movie or anything. In fact, it's another one of those left-wing bummers about how everything is awful and we're all going to die because of George W. Bush. But it's still, you know, informative.

What's the Deal? So there was this president we had, maybe you've heard of him if you weren't constantly dozing in history class — Dwight Eisenhower. He was no lefty beatnik. Which is why his stern, worried warnings about a "military-industrial complex" are a favorite thing for lefty beatniks to latch onto. And with good reason. Here was a conservative guy who predicted the very ugly status quo we have going on today, one in which the corporations that profit from war have a horrifying amount of influence on American foreign policy. That means Dick Cheney.

Best Parts That Are About Vice President Dick Cheney, Former CEO of Halliburton: When retired Air Force Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski says, "We elected a defense contractor as vice president." Everyone knows it, and yet when you hear the words coming out of her mouth, it sounds as scary as Hostel. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain is shown on camera doing that trick where he talks out of both sides of his mouth and then smiles happily when his interview is interrupted to take Cheney's call.

Information = Solid; Presentation = Smug: There are no outlandish claims in this movie. It's all pretty much on-the-table stuff. But nobody is done any favors by documentaries that simply cut and paste bits of hand-wringing interviews together with ironic footage of a jazz-hands-ing military swing choir and rows of bombs being produced. It's lazy shorthand, it's been done to death and it's just propagandistic. This movie does that a lot.

My Personal Favorite Moment: There's a scene in which Bush is in some big meeting with a lot of wooden white guys in suits — and Condoleeza Rice — and they're all busy planning the end of the world or whatever, and there's a big plate of cookies in the middle of the table. At that moment, my viewing companion said, out loud, "Cookies … I love cookies."

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