Essay: How not to depict a war
Added under Culture
I long ago learned not to discuss war movies with soldiers. They tend to be detail-oriented and obsessed with authenticity. They frequently dismiss well-made, thought-provoking films because of some minor detail–the scope on a rifle is wrong, or the markings on a vehicle incorrect.
Last summer, I began to see rave reviews of "The Hurt Locker," a movie about the Iraq war by Kathryn Bigelow. After a string of Iraq-related Hollywood flops, reviewers said this was the movie that finally brought home the reality and horror of Iraq. Soon I began to get e-mail from friends back in the states who loved the movie for its "realistic depiction" of the war. I've worked in Iraq over a six-year period, and they wanted to know what I thought.
Though I'm back in Iraq now, I put off seeing the movie, partly because I felt no need to be disturbed by memories that its graphic images would surely raise. But I mentioned the movie to a few soldiers. Predictably, none liked it. A group from the 2nd Infantry Division laughed uproariously, recalling the scene where a blood-soaked bullet jams a massive .50-caliber rifle. "A fifty cal? Blood would just lubricate it!"
Sources: New York Times
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