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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.66%
Worth A Look53.19%
Just Average: 12.77%
Pretty Crappy: 4.26%
Sucks: 2.13%

5 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Why We Fight
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by Chris Wilson

"Compelling and enlightening - what more mainstream documentaries should be!"
5 stars

Life is all about learning, right? And I continue learning that documentaries don’t have to be boring. Case in point: Why We Fight, a recent film by relatively unknown director Eugene Jarecki. The title is an allusion to a series of Frank Capra directed pro-war propaganda films from the 40s. Why We Fight is framed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1960 farewell address in which he warns of the rise of a “Military Industrial Complex,” essentially an economic machine run by and for the profit of war. By comparing Eisenhower’s foreboding words with US military actions and foreign policy from then through now, Why We Fight looks at what ways Eisenhower’s words have come true.

The film revolves around several personal stories, such as the pilots of the first bomb strike in the most recent Iraq war, a young man signing up for the military due to his lack of financial options and a retired police officer whose son was killed in the 9/11 attacks. These personal stories are woven within historical footage, video of recent world events and interviews with politicians, analysts and military personnel to name a few. Add to this amusing and often times stirring music, and what comes out is a completely engrossing and exciting film that replaces Jean Claude Van-Damme with John McCain.

On the surface this might sound suspiciously similar to the recent Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11. But the difference between these films is monumental. Why We Fight, while still containing opinion based material and a specific slant, comes across as a well-constructed argument with thorough research. Fahrenheit 9/11 feels more like a political rant, even bordering on being a propaganda film.

Of course part of the reason I’m able to take Jarecki’s film seriously is because he’s not in it! Moore, nearly always on screen or narrating the action, seems to act as a puppeteer in his film, manipulating every emotion and image to get across his views. Regardless of whether I agree with him, that’s distasteful documentary filmmaking. I question whether his films are about looking for truth or finding his own fame and glory. Why place yourself so prominently if that’s not the reason? Thankfully, Jarecki never appears or is heard. He takes the words of others and juxtaposes it with meaningful footage to make his argument. Like those School House Rock cartoons – only more sobering.

Regardless of your political leaning, Why We Fight should be appreciated for the well crafted answer seeking documentary it is. It’s meant to get people actively thinking and talking about the role of military action in the world and how economics tie into it. It accomplishes that but moreover the film possesses a beautiful artistry in the way it weaves together its story lines and history. One might say it has a certain lyrical quality. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, far from sucking, Why We Fight pretty much rocks.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11213&reviewer=400
originally posted: 03/30/06 17:34:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2005 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/13/09 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
11/29/08 CTT Another anti-Bush/Cheney/military "documentary" (propaganda); enough already! 1 stars
7/02/07 Tanya g wonderful movie, informative about the past and present 4 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold Says nothing life-changing to me. Hell, "Farenheit 9/11" was (way) better. 2 stars
1/21/07 Patrick This is a brilliantly made docu, a true "must-see" 5 stars
9/11/06 David Well researched & presented, so it's obviously 'anti-american' 4 stars
9/04/06 Ken Rivard It is political to the core.I would suspect Michael Moore is in the background.And it is on 2 stars
8/16/06 Mary Beth should appeal to most; not just the left 4 stars
7/24/06 shane swank good doc..Like spending the eve.reading myspace friends bulletins for a couple of hours.Pre 4 stars
7/14/06 michael take a look so hopefully more of you will wake up what's going on, former US Army 5 stars
3/30/06 Soha Molina good movie 4 stars
12/18/05 Thane Doss Eisenhower's warning is its thesis, and the movie demonstrates the thesis--hardly leftist. 4 stars
10/02/05 Al Reid Fantastic doc, worthy of wide theatrical release 5 stars
9/30/05 Øyvind Tverå Very precise rendering of American foreign policy, with hard cold supporting facts. 5 stars
9/29/05 Dimitri Papastavrou Superb film 5 stars
9/24/05 bl spread the word! 5 stars
8/24/05 Brian Staightforward and to the point. Former US Navy 5 stars
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  DVD: 27-Jun-2006



Directed by
  Eugene Jarecki

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