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Gunners Palace vs. Restrepo - Movie Review Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Gunner Palace vs. Restrepo ‘Gunner Palace’ is a 2004 documentary film that depicts the situation on the ground in Iraq in the period between 2003 and 2004. The film purports to tell the harsh realities that mainstream media outlets do not truly represent in the news…
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Gunners Palace vs. Restrepo
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Download file to see previous pages It follows soldiers deployed to what was then termed the most dangerous place on earth; Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Gunner Palace provides a real-as-any look at the lives of the soldiers as it follows them through their daily routines as they try to bring peace and normality to a war-zone. The camera crew’s dedication to going wherever the soldiers go; street patrols, home raids, bomb-detection; no matter how dangerous, is a commendable effort as they put themselves in life-threatening situations to give the viewer a realistic outlook on what war really means. The grim, dark tone of Restrepo is set from its very title, Restrepo is the name of the Operation Post (OP) that the platoon is guarding, and it is named after a soldier who died during the early days of combat. The crew follows the soldiers for a year as they struggle to make the area clear of insurgents and restore peace to the native people, a process that sometimes involves fatal firefights (McAdams 87). The movies, though seemingly identical in all respects but the geographical, differ in tone and depiction of events. This can be attributed to the different wars the movies portray. Gunner Palace is set at a time in the Iraqi war when the hunt for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) had been declared by President Bush to be almost over. The soldiers are supposed to be finishing up on the war and making the area a safe zone. This may seem a predictable and droll task, leading to the sometimes almost droning tone of the movie. However, the night-time incursions and possible bomb threats demonstrate that danger is ever-present. Restrepo differs greatly in that the violence is immediate and constant, unlike Gunner Palace where it was somewhat intermittent. The soldiers in Restrepo are captured in the heat of battle, constantly under fire. Soldiers are captured getting hit by bullets, becoming casualties. While the soldiers in Gunner Palace were affected emotionally because they felt that they were fighting a forgotten war and their efforts had been forgotten, the ones in Restrepo are emotionally scarred by losing friends in combat (McAdams 40). The one outstanding and laudable trait in both Gunner Palace and Restrepo is the way the films avoid politically motivated portrayals of war, neither criticizing nor praising the war, and choose instead to focus on what life is like for the soldiers in the heat of combat. In the immediate post-9/11 era where the American citizenry was full-steam ahead in support of the war on terror, any voice of dissent that dared point out the futility of the war, the high tolls, both human and economic, and the contradiction in trying to achieve peace through war, would be viewed as unpatriotic (McAdams 21). The very fact that these films forego any out rightly preachy messages and instead focus on the brutal truths about what it is like in the field is what eventually lends strength to their messages. By not beating you over the head with the message that ‘war is bad’ and instead depicting starkly what it is like, the viewer is left to arrive to their own conclusion. In essence, the films try to make the viewer ask themselves, “Would I like to be in those shoes? Walking through the minefields that are Iraq and Afghanistan? At risk of losing life or limb at any moment?” The viewer sympathizes with the soldiers by trying to put themselves in their shoes. By putting the viewer in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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