Boys of Abu Ghraib
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Shot in New Mexico on a limited budget, Boys of Abu Ghraib is a credible depiction of the tedium, frustration and humiliation of wartime service. (Jack gets coated in human excrement not once but twice.) Naturalistic scenes of boxing, bantering and masturbation, set to a rap and hard-rock score, emphasize that these boys are young American everymen.
Too by-the-numbers for the emotional impact to resonate as long as it could and should have.
The film has a very good idea in using a single soldier’s perspective to explore how tension and boredom can lead to such extreme misconduct, but it doesn’t go far enough, in the end leaving a disgraceful chapter just dimly illuminated in psychological terms.
This is a story that still resonates in the way we deal with war, torture, and detainment camps. It demands depth.
Writer-director-star Luke Moran has his heart in the right place, and a clear compassion for soldiers thrust into impossible situations with no training, but he lacks the desire to steer his film in the honest direction this topic requires.
Los Angeles Times
The film hardly scratches Abu Ghraib's surface.
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