Monday, September 13, 2004

Gunner Palace

Picture the middle chapter of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket where the soldiers are talking to the film crews and hanging around Saigon. Now fuse this with the talk-to-the-camera, run-through-the-streets style of Fox TV's COPS. That is the style and tone you can expect from this engrossing documentary. It follows a gunner squad which are HQed in on of Uday Hussein's pleasure palace (with on side sheared off from the bombing campaign) and police the city. They talk shit, they rapp, they party in the pool and go out on arrest raids, examine potential explosive devices and in one scene teach a local politician how to operate a pistol.
Taken with Farenheit 911 (socio-political) and Control Room (journalism) Gunner Palace is one group of soldiers point of view on the war as they are right in the middle of it. The thing that is constantly repeated is that what is on the news is nowhere near a reflection of the reality of day-to-day life in Baghdad. Most of the soldiers are pro-soldier but anti-war.
Gripping, humourous, sad, frustrating, and poignant are words that come to mind as the film his overlayed with a rap soundtrack actually composed from many of the soldiers in the group. The documentary doesn't tell you what to think, but rather just shows you what is happening and lets you take away what you will.


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