Why We Fight (2005)
Genre: Documentary (USA, France, UK, Canada, Denmark)
Starring: Republican Senator John McCain, President Eisenhower's Son, John S.D. Eisenhower, and his granddaughter Susan Eisenhower.
Directed By: Eugene Jarecki
Overview: President Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, warned America that the 'military-industrial complex' was a threat to liberty and should be closely reined. This documentary poses the question, 'Why are we in Iraq?', and more importantly, 'Why do we fight at all?'
Acting: These people seem really comfortable in front of the camera. It's refreshing to see that in this kind of documentary. Of course, with people like John McCain, you're raising the bar when it comes to video interviews. From the lowly illiterate sheep-herder to the soldier about to ship out to Iraq, the people who are in this movie do a great job of making the movie, and staying natural without being awkward.
Cinematography: The stock footage they use, the quick cuts from missiles and bombs being made, to trade shows with greasy merchants doing card tricks (nice imagery of being conned by the way, very cute) to Eisenhower's message. Sure, this follows the standard documentary style of shooting, but there's a nice budget and some great editing.
Script: "America will fail. She will fail completely among the countries... America will lose because her behaviour is not the behaviour of a great nation."
Some pretty damning words that sums up the general consensus of the film. This documentary, if you know enough about America's war / imperialist history, is not that shocking. The story of the man who lost his son in the trade center at 9/11, and how he tried to get his name put on a bomb that was used in Iraq, however, was my favorite part. It's a touching tale of how the typical American is starting to lose faith in their once great nation.
Plot: This film goes over Eisenhower's warning, narrates the threat of Lockheed Martin and the privatization of military support units (food services, contractors), and asks regular people on the streets of home and abroad the question "why do we fight?" The answer may turn out to be a little thin, but the focus is clearly on learning more about what's going on that finding out why.
Mood: The professionalism, the amount of archive footage, the soundtrack, these are the things that make or break the mood of a standard documentary like this one and I must say that from the very beginning, this was great music overlaid across some impressive footage while making it well-rounded with some touching tales of humanity.
Aftertaste: This is nowhere near as memorable as The Corporation or The Take, which I think everyone should see, but it was recommended by a good friend, and until good friends start thinking that I'm a trash-compactor of film, ready to have stuff shoved in just to consume, then I'll keep taking their suggestions. So far I haven't been too let down, Good Guys Wear Black aside, but in defense, that was to knock my love of Chuck Norris down a notch, and it worked, oh Lord did it ever.