Archive for the ‘Mockumentary’ Category

Dirty War (2004) Film Review 5/5

January 25, 2005

Here lately there’s been a rash of docudrama and documentary-style films that are typically designed to play on our worst fears. No, I’m not talking about that ass-clown Michael Moore. I’m talking about movies that are based on incidents that could happen. Here lately I’ve seen a few of them on TV, and late last night I sat down and watched the HBO Films presentation (HBO has the best stuff, I swear to God) of a BBC flick called “Dirty War.”

The premise of the film is simple. A Muslim terrorist cell orchestrates a massive dirty bomb attack in the middle of London in the middle of rush-hour using nuclear materials procured from those lazy fuckin’ Russians who have the nastiest habit of losing tons of nuclear material. For those of you who have been living under a rock, a dirty bomb is a bomb designed to spread radioactive shit everywhere once it blows up, sending people into a panic, getting lots of people sick, and generally fucking shit up.

This movie takes a lot of different perspectives. We see Nichola Painswick, Minister for London (Helen Schlesinger) dealing with the press and overseeing the mock terrorist-attack responses. We see fire officer Murray Corrigan (Alastair Galbraith) and his men making valid complaints about their equipment that go unheeded. We get to see as Abu Abassi (William El-Gardi) and the terrorists themselves prepare and coordinate their attack, as well as build their bombs. We also see the fine folks at Scotland Yard, lead by DC Sameena Habibullah (Koel Purie) and DS Mike Drummer (Martin Savage) as they try their best to first prevent the attacks and then deal with the bombers. The movie goes out of its way to give us all sides of the picture, and it’s better for that.

Now I must admit that I am a sucker for a good ‘portent of doom’ flick, and Dirty War is definitely good at what it does while going out of its way not to villainize Muslims as nothing but a dirty pack of terrorists. Indeed, there are good Muslims to counterbalance the bad Muslims, and there’s even a couple of hot Muslims in the character of Sameena and the nameless girl behind the counter at the Kwik-E-Mart who is sporting a killer body in a pair of skintight jeans and a belly shirt. However, the movie doesn’t bullshit us by saying that the terrorists who do attack London aren’t Muslims. Let’s be honest. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim men between the ages of 18 and 40. It ain’t PC, but it’s true and we all know it. Hell, even Muslims know it.

At the beginning of the film there is a disclaimer stating that a lot of research went into the movie, and I’d believe it. The writers have really captured pretty much every disaster preparedness video I’ve ever had to watch and gave it a post-terrorism spin. The radiation suits worn by the firefighters and first responders tear easily, just like the ones in real life do. Dirty bombs aren’t weapons that will generate thousands of casualties if one knows the proper precautions to take. If you’re exposed to fallout, don’t lick your dirty hands and eat handfuls of glowing snow. Take a shower ASAP, because the water will flush the radiation away from your skin. Get the fuck out of the bombing area. Sure you may get cancer down the road, but you were probably going to get cancer anyway, so just deal with it. Let it never be said that this website isn’t educational.

This movie is phenomenal. I didn’t want to get up to go to the bathroom while I was watching it, because I knew I’d miss something pretty cool. Shot on digital video, the film looks like documentary style, and the camera work lends itself to a man-on-the-scene feel, except with better lighting and a little tastefully-done musical score to emphasize the drama in certain scenes. DV has come a hell of a long way, and films like “28 Days Later,” along with this piece, really look the peer of their brethren shot on traditional film stock, and the fact that I had no idea who any of the actors and actresses were really helped push the film over the edge for me.

Good lookin’ out, HBO. First you steal “Da Ali G Show” from Britain, and now this. Way to pillage the international community!