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The War Tapes: The War Tapes in the News - 08/17/06

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The War Tapes in the News - 08/17/06

The War Tapes has received an amazing amount of press in each city it has opened in. Here are some of the press pieces from a few of the cities where you can currently see The War Tapes on the big screen. To see the full listing of theaters across America where The War Tapes is playing, click here.

Tucson, AZ
Comedy and Tragedy: 'The War Tapes' may be one of the best documentaries you've ever seen
James Digiovanna, Tucson Weekly

I can sum up The War Tapes with one word: Wow.

There have been a lot of documentaries about the Iraq war lately, most of them somewhat negative. It seems that many in "Hollywood" would prefer that we not toss more human bodies into the violent hell-pit where civilization was born. Boo hoo, "Hollywood." It's a soldier's job to get killed for his country's chief executive's incoherent war rationalizations. If you don't like it, move to Peacenikia and start an ultimate hacky-sack league.

The War Tapes, unlike every other documentary on this or any war, was filmed by the actual soldiers who are fighting it. It's an interesting idea which could have gone terribly wrong. Strangely, it goes terribly right, and gives a soldier's-eye picture of just what it's like to risk your life defending Halliburton.

Pittsburgh, PA
Peril is Perpetual
Scott Tady, Beaver County Times
To get any closer to the war, you'd have to be dodging bullets.

With unfettered access and remarkable poignancy, a group of U.S. soldiers filmed footage from the Iraqi war. Armed with cameras, they captured the confusion, carnage, bravery and apprehension as their New Hampshire-based National Guard unit found itself in the heat of battles and facing the constant threat of car bombs and mortar attacks.

Jacksonville, NC
Through a soldier's eyes
Chris Mazo, The Daily News
"The War Tapes" is as real as Iraq gets without going there yourself. The tension is palpable in the soldiers' faces as they stare out in the distance as their convoy barrels along. They chew lips and grip gun handles. When an improved explosive device detonates under them, the soldiers duck and swear and yell confused questions at each other. When something explodes in the distance, they glaze their relief with comments like "Every time you hear a boom, somebody is going to heaven."

Many will no doubt wonder whether "The War Tapes" comes down for or against the war. It does neither, and that’s its greatest strength. This movie is both a testament and an example of how there is little that is definitively right or wrong in this world: things are more complex than that. The soldiers themselves are both for and against the war, almost simultaneously. They bitch about being there, and some wonder whether the whole thing is a disaster. Yet they want to see combat, need a chance to prove themselves and possess a fierce desire to see the mission through to the end.

Cleveland, OH
A candid, distressing study of the war
Joanna Connors, The Plain Dealer
What makes "The War Tapes" truly remarkable, though, is not the battle footage. It is the candor with which Bazzi and the other two soldiers, Spc. Mike Moriarty and Sgt. Stephen Pink, talk about themselves, the war and their mission in Iraq: driving Humvees in a convoy to protect the supply trucks owned by Halliburton subsidiary KBR, the former Kellogg Brown and Root
Nashville, TN
'War Tapes' takes viewer directly into battle action
Ron Wynn, Nashville City Paper
The War Tapes reveals how complicated and bizarre the daily situation in Iraq has become for the soldiers. It neither tries to be a policy vehicle nor a geopolitical exercise. Bazzi’s facility with Arabic helps him in a number of instances, and there are also many situations where the soldiers do their best to communicate with a population that is often suspicious, if not outright hostile (and that doesn’t include the roving bands of insurgents always lurking in the background).

It’s also quite revealing to hear the reactions, feelings and responses of Sergeants Pink and Bazzi, as well as Specialist Moriarty. Whether you accept or reject their reasons for fighting, each seems quite sincere in their convictions, truly interested in the future of Iraq and determined to do the best job possible under the circumstances, then get out alive.

Fayetteville, NC
War & Video
Kate Cantrell, Fayetteville Online
You’re riding through the desert, crammed into a hot Humvee. Civilians dart in front of your convoy and the roadside is littered with strange vehicles — any one of which could be booby-trapped to kill you.

Can you imagine?

Many soldiers can, especially those who have patrolled the road to Balad in Iraq.

Burlington, VT
War and peace: Through the lens of war
Shay Totten, Vermont Guardian
Mike Moriarty has a message for Hollywood: "I dare you to promote this film."

"This film" is the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary The War Tapes, in which soldiers are the ones shooting the footage and providing the running commentary. It’s the first war movie filmed by soldiers themselves.

Moriarty was one of those soldiers, filling 225 80-minute tapes, or 300 hours of the more than 800 hours of raw footage that he and four others took during their yearlong deployment in Iraq as part of Charlie Company, 3rd of the 172nd Infantry Regiment, which includes some Vermonters.

The regiment lived through more than 1,200 combat operations and 250 direct enemy engagements, nearly one a day, during their year of “boots on the ground."

The War Tapes is not a political film in the usual sense; rather, it allows the soldiers to reveal their politics and opinions candidly, whether they support or oppose their mission. Politically, the film remains neutral as a whole; however, there is plenty of fodder for everyone.

Columbus, OH
Soldiers document Iraqi turmoil
Frank Gabrenya, The Columbus Dispatch
The War Tapes plays as apolitically as a film about this war could. If negativity outweighs rah-rah moments, chalk that up to the natural sourness of troops in the field. The primary bitterness is directed at their roles not as combatants but as security escorts for the trucks of American contractors. They perceive that their lives are being risked for big business.

What elevates Scranton’s film above previous works shot in Iraq are the stateside interviews. The director followed her subjects home and, while maintaining a respectful distance, recorded impressions of the soldiers trying to make the adjustment back into civilian life. The footage suggests that some demons came home with them.