Directed by Charles Ferguson
I appreciated this film for its ability to inform and educate its audience. It was a great movie because it found answers and made clear the problems and issues surrounding the Iraq War. However, I can’t help but be skeptical because the film was so flawless. In a war between two countries, I think it is hard to pin down all the mistakes and bad choices that led to the war. This film offered a concrete explanation and was so well crafted and planned that I cannot wholly agree with it.
The use of lighting techniques, interview choice, and original footage all led to the creation of a one-sided propaganda movie. It was interesting that the director tried to interview people such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, but they refused to meet with him. The way the interviews are interposed with the title cards telling of these men refusing in such a way that it implies they were scared to tell the truth to the public. It makes them look like they are running from the problem when in reality they may have refused for a number of reasons, including being suspicious of Ferguson’s aims and not wanting to disclose any private information to the public.
The portrayal of key interviewees in relation to the aim of the film was carefully planned and carried out. In every interview of Paul Hughes, his face is entirely lighted and is placed in front of a warm background. Other interviews, such as that of Walter Slocombe, are portrayed with stark contrast shadows on the interviewee’s face, with a completely dark background. By using these techniques, the director is manipulating the audience to naturally see the interviewee as a villain in the story.
Despite these manipulative efforts, I was pleased with Ferguson’s ability to synthesize the precedings of the war which are so often misunderstood and neglected because of them complex nature.