DIRTY WARS

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JANUARY 27, 2014

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, known for his book “Blackwater,” tells the story of his trip to Afghanistan, as he delves into the mystery of unsanctioned U.S. Army night raids. Despite his over-dramatic voice-over narration, the interviews he has with many of the people involved with the war are very informative. The Army veteran that he interviews state the premise best when he describes the “kill list” system of the Army and how they start with 300 names on the list and once those men have been killed, suddenly they have a new “kill list,” but this one has 1,000 names on it, filled with people that they have pissed off through the work done and mistakes made through the first list. The film hits several marks of being fascinating and informing the public, but Jeremy tries way too hard to get the audience to take his side, not offering up any unbiased materials for the audience to make their own decision.

Along with that, he blatantly tosses elements at us that are geared to make us feel something, like interviews with little Afghan girls talking about their family members being killed. These moments come at us without warning or structure most times and hold little weight with the way they are presented. I do not want to sound heartless, but this is a very obvious approach and the sign of a weak film-maker. On top of that, comes the melodrama Scahill presents, both with his paranoia that he is being followed by government officials for uncovering the truth and with his death-defying journeys into parts of Afghanistan that white people simply should not be visiting. He approaches these visits as if he may lose his life at any moment, and the possibility is there, but if someone steps in front of a train on their own free will to do something death-defying, it does not make that person heroic or adventurous. It makes them masochistic. When the film finally ends, it ends without punctuation, simply leaving the conclusion up in the air. All is the same, as Scahill makes his position quite clear throughout the entire run-time.

RELEASE DATE
June 7, 2013

DIRECTOR
Richard Rowley

WRITTEN BY
Jeremy Scahill
David Riker

BASED ON
“Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield”
by Jeremy Scahill

STUDIO
Sundance Selects

PG-13
(for sci-fi action and terror, and brief strong language)

DOCUMENTARY
CRIME
MYSTERY
NEWS
WAR

87 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Richard Rowley

COMPOSER
David Harrington

EDITOR
Richard Rowley

CAST
Jeremy Scahill
Nasser Al Aulaqi
Saleha Al Aulaqi
Muqbal Al Kazemi
Abdul Rahman Barman
Saleh Bin Fareed
Andrew Exum
Abdul Ghafoor

PRODUCED BY
Peter Chernin
Tonia Davis
Jenno Topping

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