Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Generation Kill

I recently finished David Simon's Generation Kill miniseries.  Though its based on Evan Wright's book of the same name, in terms of tone it is essentially The Wire in Iraq.

I was interested in watching this after seeing The Hurt Locker. It turns out that the two pieces are markedly different with Generation Kill assuming a more documentary style. Not to say that anything about The Hurt Locker was especially ornate. Truthfully, its one of the most stripped down war movies I've ever seen, its just that Generation Kill is filmed with a much more realistic (and much less cinematic style) Using this documentary style, Generation Kill presents a complicated and realistic view of the first weeks of the Iraq invasion.

The miniseries depicts both the consummate professionalism of the soldiers (with one extremely notable exception) and the complete lack of organization present at the beginning of the invasion. Extraordinarily well trained soldiers are tasked with a mission completely counter to their training, they are given forest camouflage and unarmored (not to mention, broken down) humvees to travel through an extremely hostile desert, and the rules of engagement are constantly changed. The soldiers themselves are shown to have a wide range of opinions about what they are doing in Iraq and the meaning of the invasion.

If you've seen The Wire, Generation Kill builds on many of the same themes. Trained men and women are often undercut by the institutions that they are forced to work within, leadership (even in battle) is complicated by the need to make compromises and follow the chain of command, and an enemy that is initially perceived as not a threat is shown to be much more adaptable and dangerous than anyone could have expected. Furthermore, there is no attempt to simplify the conflict. If you haven't seen The Wire, Generation Kill is a good primer for the kind of issues central to the show. The only major difference is that Generation Kill takes place in Iraq while The Wire takes place in the streets of Baltimore.

If you are interested in nuanced take on the Iraq war, I highly recommend checking out Generation Kill. The language can be difficult to get through (what with the mix of military jargon and extreme amounts of swearing) but its very much worth it. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7 -E07