Tuesday, April 29, 2008
What with work, the awards ceremony, receptions and parties, I only made it to Full Battle Rattle today - but what a great film it was! Deep in the middle of the Mojave desert in California, the United States military has set up a replica of an Iraqi village as part of an elaborate simulation which serves as a training ground for troops preparing to deploy to Iraq. Full Battle Rattle follows one battalion through their two weeks of stay attempting to stabilize Median Wasl - a fake Iraqi village complete with Iraqi immigrants and asylum seekers playing the role of Shia, Sunni, Iraqi police and insurgents alike. The extent of detail in the simulation is really amazing, and it's easy to forget that the attacks and explosions are all controlled and non-lethal. I found it particularly interesting to hear the stories and opinions of the Iraqi's playing the villagers. With so much discussion and speculation on the situation in Iraq, it is refreshing to see what those who have experienced it first hand feel about it. That being said though, the film does a great job of staying largely apolitical. The filmmakers focus entirely on the events that take place in Medina Wasl and the lives of the people living and working there without digressing and becoming didactic about the larger issues. The most powerful part of the film comes at the end when the batalion is told they are being deployed to Iraq for a year. The expressions on their faces and the tears in the eyes of their families speak volumes more than any pundit or candidate ever could. Full Battle Rattle provides a provocative and interesting look into a complex situation - a great film that's not to be missed!
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