No End In Sight (2007)

(On DVD, January 2008) This brainy documentary takes on a tough subject (the way the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq was mishandled) without much in terms of eye-candy: It’s mostly Baghdad footage and talking heads for the entire duration. But don’t let that stop you from watching this intelligent explanation of how and why the United States has really dropped the ball and exacerbated existing problems after its invasion. A lot of this material will be familiar to observers of the situation over the past few years, but No End In Sight does a fine job at piecing it together in a coherent picture that goes beyond the easy headlines. It’s a matter of policy decisions and adapting to the fact on the ground –and in there like in the rest of its administration, the Bush II regime is completely incompetent. The film shows over and over how capable people are ignored, sidelined or fired and replaced with ideologically malleable people who don’t have a clue. It adds up to a profoundly depressing portrait, a methodical argument without much in terms of overt partisan polemic. (Though Rumsfeld act as the film’s own bitter comic relief.) It’s not documentary-as-entertainment like we’ve seen so frequently over the past few years, but it’s a clever, remarkable piece of non-fiction cinema. It certainly deserves its Oscar nomination.

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