A lot of war documentaries have been coming out in recent years, some better than others. It can often be a sensitive subject matter because the key to producing a good documentary is giving equal time to both sides of the argument, and with the government we all know that you can’t always get answers, let alone talk to anyone. Dirty Wars happens to be one of those documentaries that is extremely one sided, but through no fault of its own. The film maker, reporter Jeremy Scahill, does his best to interview top government officials, but is routinely shot down or threatened.
Dirty Wars is based on Scahill’s book Dirty Wars: The War is a Battlefield and tries to uncover the nature of the ultra-secret paramilitary group referred to as JSOC, or Joint Special Operations Command. That may sound familiar because that was the division that was responsible for the raid on Osama bin Laden. The movie starts way earlier when this group was still considered covert and was never really talked about in official press briefings. Scahill tries to focus his attention on the secret wars and operations JSOC has been participating in since the late 80’s and early 90’s. He does his best to travel to areas of the world that JSOC has been operating in an attempt to uncover the truth.
As far as documentaries go, Dirty Wars isn’t bad, but I never really felt like there was a clear goal that Scahill was moving toward. It isn’t shot in a normal documentary fashion, the director uses filters and other interesting moves usually reserved for fiction pieces that try to hold your attention. I’m a fan of documentaries and this one definitely piqued my interest I just wish he had explored a little more in depth into the subject.
6 out of 11
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About the movie
Synopsis: Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars.
Director: Rick Rowley
Writers:David Riker, Jeremy Scahill
Run time: 90 min