Just in time for Veterans Day weekend binge-watching, or binge-reading, here are links to all Time Now posts that review movies about twenty-first century war in Iraq and Afghanistan. No Generation Kill, In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, or 12 Strong, unfortunately, because I’ve yet to write on them. Also, no Captain Phillips, Act of Valor, or 13 Hours, for the same reason and because they’re not set in Iraq or Afghanistan. Finally, no Jarhead, since it’s about the Gulf War, nor the Jarhead sequels, because either their location is indeterminate or I haven’t watched them yet. Still, there’s plenty more to keep you entertained. What will I be watching? Generation Kill again, and I hope to finally get to 12 Strong.
Sand Castle (2017). US Army soldiers struggle to complete a civil affairs project in Iraq. Starring Nicholas Hoult as Private Matt Ocre.
Thank You for Your Service (2017). US Army Iraq veterans cope with PTSD after leaving the service. Starring Miles Teller as Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann.
War Machine (2017). An idiosyncratic US Army general takes charge of the war in Afghanistan. Starring Brad Pitt as General Glen McMahon.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016). An unlikely Iraq War hero is feted by the American public. Starring Joe Alwyn as US Army Specialist Billy Lynn.
Nobel (2016). The long reach of war in Afghanistan follows Norwegian soldiers home after deployment. Starring Aksel Hennie as Lieutenant Erling Riiser.
War Dogs (2016). Two in-over-their-heads arms entrepreneurs try to make it big selling ammo to the Afghan National Army. Starring Jonah Hill as Efraim Diveroli and Miles Teller as David Packouz.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016). A female journalist parties hard while exposing problems with the US military effort in Afghanistan. Starring Tina Fey as Kim Barker.
Hyena Road (2015). Canadian soldiers debate whether counterinsurgency operations or combat action is the path to victory in Afghanistan. Starring Paul Goss as Captain Pete Mitchell and Rossif Sutherland as Warrant Officer Ryan Sanders.
A War (2016). The long reach of war in Afghanistan follows Danish soldiers home after deployment. Starring Pilou Asbaek as Commander Michael Pedersen.
American Sniper (1) (2014). A Navy SEAL at first excels in battle in Iraq but eventually cracks under the stress of repeated tours. Starring Bradley Cooper as Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle. American Sniper (2)
Fort Bliss (2014). A female US Army sergeant, a battlefield hero in Afghanistan, fights for respect on return to the States. Starring Michelle Monaghan as Staff Sergeant Maggie Swann.
Lone Survivor (2013). A Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan goes awry. Starring Mark Wahlberg as Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell.
Green Zone (2010). A swashbuckling US Army officer fights not just insurgents in Iraq, but enemies within his own ranks. Starring Matt Damon as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller.
The Messenger (2009). Two US Army soldiers notify next-of-kin of loved ones’ deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Starring Woody Harrelson as Captain Tony Stone and Ben Fisher as Sergeant Will Montgomery.
The Hurt Locker (2008). A cocky US Army bomb disposal expert wages war in Iraq on his own terms. Starring Jeremy Renner as Sergeant First Class William James.
Postscript: After publishing the post above, I read the following in Nicholas Kulish’s Last One In, a 2007 novel narrated by an embedded journalist assigned to a Marine unit at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A Marine named Martinez opines on whether reporters should carry and fire weapons when attached to a unit going into combat:
“I’ve seen We Were Soldiers, with Mel Gibson,” Martinez continued. “That reporter said the same thing. When the time cam, he started popping like his name was Dirty Harry.” A civilian stateside might feel inadequate for imagining war in terms of movies. After he lived with a Marine rifle company, that feeling would vanish. Everything was related in terms of movies, Braveheart and Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket, and with the reverence reserved for canonical texts, Black Hawk Down. It said a lot for the movie that Marines would hold a film about Army Rangers in such high regard. If a reporter had shot people in We Were Soldiers, by the Marine logic, it must be so.