I stumbled over that tv production by accident. Not living in the states has its up and down sides. Missing that production is one rare down side i must admit. At least when it comes to this stuff. Now lets write a short review about that 7 part tv production.
The story is basically about a recon company of US marines in the first days of the second iraq war after 9/11. The story we witness is actualy from a book a reporter wrote who was one of the first journalists that embedded himself in the troops. So what we see in this series is pretty much accurate and surely mirrors the happenings in the early days of that war in a somewhat clear fashion. We soon learn that this production is a pretty bold one since the average US tv watcher doesn’t want to see these things. But this happens and it’s never wrong to face the truth. To maybe think about what is going wrong in this world today. And that may be the reason why i missed it so far. No one really talked about it.
The overall atmosphere throughout all 7 parts is remarkable. A big plus to the believability is that the whole communication is strictly military. A lot of cryptic talking going on but you find your way more and more into it with every episode you watch. There is also absolutely no music in all of these parts except for some acapella numbers from our marines. These guys have a questionable taste in music but it’s funny nonetheless. It brings in a few comedy elements. These are simply great and so dry in their execution. Wonderful. You soon get the view of these guys on all of the things going on there. It’s all very sarcastic, hopeless and cynic. The fighting sequences are rare but when they happen it’s hell. I wouldn’t want to live through something like this. There are also a lot of things you cannot believe are actually happening. There must have been so many stupid decisions by the US military. It’s hard to believe these things do happen but it does and it’s good that such productions try to open the eyes of the people. You often see our characters stare in disbelief about the orders they got from the higher authorities. That’s special for a tv production from an US american channel. Thanks to HBO for that, seriously. They’re at least trying. While i read that the US audience did not respond well to this production. And i’m sure everyone who saw the series understands why. What we see is plain honesty and a sad truth.
The cast consists of fairly unknown actors that all do a magnificient job from my perspective. These guys create a very unique atmosphere and everyone indeed has his own character and sight of things. The script actually doesn’t allow the characters to develop a too deep relationship with the viewer. You don’t get a lot of details about the back story of the characters, yet the cast manages it to establish a connection and makes the viewer care. Pretty remarkable. They manage to show how someone can change when he’s witnessing such events. What it does to you and how it brings everything into perspective. You can see it in their faces and gestures. At least most of the time. The series also goes a little bit over the top with the typical macho soldier stuff we know from other productions. That’s a small down side of this series.
The vfx delivered from Framestore (Avatar, Dark Knight) and other smaller studios work nicely. Some good matte painting work. You never think they’re outside of iraq. It’s the small things here. And it really works. Even if it’s only tv level vfx.
I highly recommend it to everyone who loved ‘Jarhead’ and is interested in what is going on down there in the middle east… or to anyone who is interested in military stuff. Should widen some horizons.
9.2/10 from me.