By Frank Paiva
October 31, 2007
More even-handed than you might expect, this SIFF 2007 documentary
about conscientious objectors in the U.S. military doesn't just
preach to the choir, it reaches five or six pews beyond.
Unfortunately, it's still not a very good movie. Focusing on a
repetitive series of soldiers who decline to bear arms in Iraq, the
filmmakers gloss over some important issues. Is there any moral
context that makes it OK to kill in wartime? Like the Holocaust,
maybe? Or if those WMDs had actually existed? And what makes Iraq
different from past wars, when conscientious objectors served with
honor? These questions linger on the periphery. Soldiers has the
virtue of including voices from across the ideological spectrum, yet
its unnecessarily long shots of brutal violence, its championing of
lefty dissent, and its overdramatic CNN-style score make clear where
its sympathies lie.
Runs Fri., Nov. 2–Thurs., Nov. 8, at SIFF Cinema. Not rated. 86 minutes.