‘Dirty Wars’ Review: And The Government Thought Torture in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Made Them Look Bad? [Sundance 2013]
Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 by Germain Lussier
Dirty Wars is a movie that you’ll watch, and which will compel you to watch your back after you’ve seen it. Paranoid viewers might think the CIA should have a list of all the people who’ve seen the film, directed by Richard Rowley, because they now know unspeakable, horrific truths about America.
In Dirty Wars, Rowley follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill deep behind enemy lines. He travels across the Middle East, Africa, and other regions to talk to people whose families — women, children, babies — have been killed by the American military. Over the course of the movie, one incident leads to another, and eventually a pattern is revealed. It seems like America is fighting an unstoppable World War against an enemy we’re creating ourselves, in countries that we aren’t at odds with.
Dirty Wars is a focused, fascinating and frightening look at war in the 21st century, and a film you’re sure not to forget. Read more below.
Jeremy Scahill was the reporter for The Nation Magazine who blew the lid of Blackwater. After that, he was embedded in Afghanastan and one day discovered that the American military had been doing secret raids all over the country, sometimes killing women and children for no apparent reason. That lead him to discover JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, a secret military group who reports only to the White House.
Scahill’s discovers that JSOC has no bounds across the world. It can strike whereever it wants, whenever it wants, to kill potential terrorists. The film then surmises many of the targets are highly questionable and only become targets because JSOC kills so many civilians, thereby making families anti-American.
All of this is told with a laser-beam narrative focus that moves seamlessly from smaller parts of the stories to bigger ones including the death of Osama Bin Laden, the leadership of President Obama, and many more.
Of course, while the film feels like it’s 100% factual and a damnation of American military strategy, Scahill himself would likely tell you to not believe everything you see. This is entertainment, after all, so you never quite know if the subjects are playing for the camera, or outright lying. Either way, even if only parts of the film are factual, it’s a far more damming portrait of the American government than any torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty.
There are scary movies, and then there are films like Dirty Wars. It’s almost unbelievable.
/Film rating: 8.5 out of 10