Currently at a 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes is the documentary The War Tapes, Deborah Scranton's study of New England National Guard soldiers in Iraq. Sometimes, the troopers engage insurgents in fire fights, but mostly they ride shotguns on truck convoys, protecting the shipments from improvised explosive devices and car bombs. It's frightening duty, tearing through an endless traffic jam full of angry civilians. The trucks can't stop for fender-benders, because of fear of bomb attack. Despite their various feelings about the justice and rationale for the war, some of the soldiers who filmed the raw footage for this documentary are furious. Some complain that their duty is, essentially, to escort much-better paid KBR/Halliburton drivers carrying goods and dairy products to the far reaches of Iraq. The War Tapes charges that KBR/Halliburton hires third-world nationals for cut rates, giving them inferior equipment. In one incident in The War Tapes, soldiers are eloquent in their contempt, as they show us a battered truck with broken windows that a foreign driver had been recruited to drive. Watching this footage was deja vu all over again for the long-time film fan. The far off oil-fields and the hazardous trucking job are all too familiar from Georges Clouzot's 1953 masterpiece The Wages of Fear.

categories Cinematical