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Sundance 2013 Movie Review: Dirty Wars

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Every year there are lots of documentaries included in the Sundance Film Festival programming. So much so, that they deservedly have their own categories — for foreign and the United States. I keep saying that documentary films are not my thing. If I wanted to know about a particular subject, there’s more than enough information available online these days. I mean, what isn’t available online anymore? I know that documentaries aren’t meant to function on an entertainment level the same way as regular films do, but I still need something to keep my interest.

With director Rick Rowley’s documentary Dirty Wars, some audiences may find themselves feeling a little icky about our ongoing war on terror by the time it’s over. However, I also know there are those who will probably find this a trumpeting endorsement to the fact that the U.S. will go to any lengths to get the job done. Especially in the search for Osama bin Laden which finally came to an end on May 2, 2011.

Chronicling investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s trip through the wringer, he visits the aftermath of a home raid that NATO claims to have no knowledge of even though it left many innocent people dead including children and pregnant women. There is way too much information to keep track of but we do get a glimpse into the personal life of Scahill with TV footage of him on various talk shows discussing his book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Like I said before, the film makes you feel a little dirty about the whole war on terror and director Rowley holds nothing back as when he lingers on bullet-riddled corpses and gunned down babies. I suppose the gut reaction is what everyone was hoping for here and it works. However, if you’re one of those who think the U.S. can do no wrong and that they should be allowed to do whatever they want to keep fighting the good fight then Dirty Wars is especially not for you.

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.