Friday, August 29, 2008

Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq

So what is this one about?
Maybe one day I will pay for cable and get HBO. Everything they produce is fabulous, and they are so helpful with descriptions on their website. Thanks HBO!
In a war that has left more than 25,000 wounded, ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ looks at a new generation of veterans. Executive Producer James Gandolfini interviews ten Soldiers and Marines who reveal their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities and their devotion to America. The documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through memories of their "alive day," the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, I've been pretty busy lately. I haven't been able to dedicate as much time towards watching movies because I've been traveling, hosting guests, working on my thesis paper (which is done....YAY!), and redoing my room. I have only gotten 11 movies from Netflix in the past 30 days, which puts the price of the disc at $1.54. (still pretty cheap though, right?)

And what did I think?
Well, I was very interested in watching this when everyone in the news world (Brian Williams) was talking about this new documentary by James Gandolfini. And kudos to HBO for getting it on dvd so quickly.

It was an interesting film which told ten different and interesting stories. It was a good film that would demonstrate to citizens the cost of war. A cost that likely they don't see. The idea that 25,000 soldiers have been wounded is kind of shocking.

However, though the film tries to demonstrate the human cost of war I never got an "anti-war" vibe from the film. Rather, Gandolfini did an excellent job of laying out a narrative that could let the audience decide for themselves what they think of war. I think this is hard to do in a war time documentary, but this one managed to stay pretty unbiased.

I also thought it was important that Gandolfini used two female veterans. Many war films or documentaries seem to only focus on the male soldiers, and this does a disservice to the female soldiers.

Last, one of the soldiers (I think he was second)has been covered on Nightly News. It was a few weeks ago, in a story that told about New York firefighters help him with this physical therapy at home because he couldn't (as in didn't want to, not as in wasn't able to) stay in the military hospitals anymore. And compared to what we saw in the film, he is doing much better now. That was a nice part of the story.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Rating movies is sort of odd, because it is impossible (probably) to separate my feelings about a film from the actual goodness of the film in terms of film. If that made any sense. I think what I would change about this film was its length. It was only an hour long. I would have liked to see more.

Other than that it was pretty interesting. I give in an 8.

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