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Full Battle Rattle
Full Battle Rattle
Actors: Lt. Col. Robert McLaughlin, Nagi Moshi, Sgt. Paul Greene
Director: Tony Gerber;Jesse Moss
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 25min

FULL BATTLE RATTLE is a revelatory look at the soul of the American war machine - an astonishing journey inside a once top-secret military base where U.S. soldiers train to confront a new kind of enemy. — In California's Mo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lt. Col. Robert McLaughlin, Nagi Moshi, Sgt. Paul Greene
Director: Tony Gerber;Jesse Moss
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, Military & War
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/15/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Battle of Medina Wasl
Dan tdaxp | 07/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Full Battle Rattle would be better named The Battle of Medina Wasl. Medina Wasil is not a real town, but rather a simulation at Fort Irwin, "The World's Premier Trainign Center for the World's Finest Military." Bush visited the National Training Center during the production of the film, but after the main filming.

The film concerns a two-week training simulation. The four 'sides' are townsfolk, a Blue Force, a Red Force, and controllers able to inject events. Some injected events (such as a Sunni-Shia wedding) go quietly, while another escalates to a massive Red Force assault. As the townsfolk repeat their roles, they develop close relationships, and this adds to the realism of the situation. Moments of levity, such as the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Chief of Police angling for a promotion are balanced with truly spooky scenes, such as a scene where Red Force "Anti-Iraqi Forces" (AIF) boredly play soccer in front of American troops. "It's just fun to kill people and blow stuff up, you know," an AIF terrorist says to the camera, simultaneously identifying the fun of playing the world's most expensive game of laser skirmish and a motivation behind the true terrorists in Iraq.

The filmmaker's clearly know their subject, and much is referenced through either brief camera shots or short comments. The resolution of a real drama -- very real deportation hearings against the fake Deputy Chief of Police -- is referenced by a single line. Likewise, a lingering shot shows a Blue Force officer reading Roger Trinquier's Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency. The scale of the operation allows the Fog of War to control events, as seen after the situation escalates because of the inability of the Deputy Mayor to contact the commander of Blue Force.
Full Battle Rattle effectively captures two layers of events, the outcome of the fake Battle of Medina Wasil. Both of these levels are real, in a way. Google searches also reveal that soldier art on the National Training Center.

Similarly, a closing scene of the film shows the actors watching a laptop film of a (fake) beheading in Medina Wasl, immediately after viewing photos of (real) visits by the President to the town.

Full Battle Rattle is the best film produced so far of the War in Iraq, and it's set in the American West.
Strongly recommended."
The Anti-War machine
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 09/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Full Battle Rattle"

The Anti-War Machine

Amos Lassen

I bet many of you do not know that in the Mojave Desert in California, the American government has built a "virtual Iraq" that cost a billion dollars. They populated the site with Iraqi role players. "Full Battle rattle" follows an Army battalion as it goes through a simulation of stopping the made-up town of Medina Wasi from falling into civil war. We get a funny, surreal and poignant look at the insides of the American war machine and as an extra we get to see how America has blundered in Iraq. This is the story of a real war in a fake town during a three week simulation.
We see the story from both sides and we follow the battle from the time that assignments are given through the fake deaths of some of the players. Even though this is just a movie, both the emotions and the stakes are very high. Reality and fantasy come together and what at first seems to be quite surreal becomes very poignant right before our eyes. All is seen through intimate stories of those "Iraqis" fleeing the war and the Americans who enter it. What the movie is, in effect, is a very potent allegory of the war as well as of our own cultural and religious differences.
The film was 14 months in the filming and editing and it is absolutely amazing as it combines cinema verite and narrative fiction. It has a lot to say to all of us, especially those interested in our military activities. We get an indelible look at modern war that is incredibly detailed and above all else, we see the strangeness of the conflict that we are presently involved in. I was not sure whether I should laugh at or rue the government for getting us involved. Seeing the suspicions and the resentments of Americans is an eye-opening experience. Both bizarre and revealing, "Full Battle Rattle" (First Run Features) is an unsettling experience.
A truly extraordinary feature
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 10/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Full Battle Rattle is an eye-opening DVD revealing how the modern American military trains its troops to fight new types of battles, against more difficult and challenging enemies. In the Mojave Desert of California, the U.S. Army has created an urban warfare simulation - backdrop of towns and villages modeled on those in the Middle East, with Iraqi-American residents playing their roles to the hilt. Full Battle Rattle follows an army battalion throughout the simulation as they seek to aid a village seemingly on the verge of civil war. The result is a vividly realistic war game, meant to hopefully prepare its participants for the real thing. A truly extraordinary feature, enhanced with bonus scenes, a photo gallery, a filmmaker Q&A, and more. 85 minutes."