2007, Brian De Palma, 90 mins.
Two American soldiers in Iraq engage in rape and murder.
Brian De Palma returns to his political and experimental roots with considerable success in this re-run of "Casualties of War" set in Iraq, although the political message is blunter than in his early work. The mixture of styles is often impressive, although the skill of the filmmaker detracts from the supposed amateur nature of the footage and the inexperienced acting is a stumbling block. Yet there’s an intensity to the film which is largely created by Bill Pankow’s superb editing, and a cumulative sense of tragic inevitability which is hard to forget. The reprisal scenes – notably a staged execution – are particularly disturbing, as is the ambivalent ending. But what impresses most is De Palma’s passionate anti-war stance which caused so much trouble in the media when the film was first released, shortly before it was buried at the box office.