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Battle for Haditha

August 23, 2010

Battle for Haditha (2007)
Director: Nick Broomfield
Actors: Elliot Ruiz, Falah Flayeh, Yasmine Hanani

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Synopsis: An investigation into the massacre of 24 Iraqi Citizens during the ‘Battle for Haditha’ in the Iraq War.

Review: More educative than artful, Nick Broomfield’s dramatisation may find its ultimate worth as a source at schools, universities and various think-tank agencies for discussion on all the converging socio-political and psychological strands of the Iraq War. Didactic though the film clearly is – and at times Broomfield’s willingness to accord moral equivalence is a touch condescending – its immediacy and relevance, plus the mere fact that Broomfield is bringing this work into the public domain, demands respect. From a dramatic perspective though, the desire of Broomfield to provide some sense of context to the Marines’ actions is particularly hamfisted. Sergeant Ramirez (the main culprit of the atrocity) is given a telegraphed sequence of mental unease just before the incident, and even when eventually accused of the crimes, he gains a semi-redemptive scene that recalls his rescue of a young Iraqi girl during the battle. These few moments of demonstration aside, Battle for Haditha is an engrossing watch and a worthy addition to the forum for debate on all things Iraq-related. (March 2008)

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