Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Connie Nielsen, Damian Lewis, Mido Hamada, Driss Roukhe, Nasser Memarzia
Part romantic thriller, part political drama, THE SITUATION is the first U.S. feature film to confront America?s occupation in the Middle East, exploring one of the countless stories hidden behind the headlines of the "War... more »
Shelia A. Bumgarner | North Carolina | 08/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released as being one of the first movies to tackle the complexity of the Iraq War, The Situation delivers as it attempts to show the problems through a myriad of viewpoints. Connie Nielsen plays the lead female role as a journalist who has obviously spent too much time in Iraq. There are a lot of different threads running throughout the movie as she investigates the deaths of a young Iraqi boy who is thrown off a bridge by American soldiers. Then the movie proceeds to connect the dots surrounding this horrible incident. Apparently, the boy is from a village ruled by a corrupt chief. One of his henchmen wants to marry the daughter of a man who is not only one of the few decent characters in the movie, but also Nielsen's informant, and he has also has attracted the attention of an American CIA operative convincingly played by Damian Lewis. The latter wants to work with the informant because he is probably the key to establishing stability in that particular area. Lewis's character is admirable. Besides being the boyfriend/lover of Nielsen, he is trying to improve the quality of life in Iraq (Thus winning the hearts and minds of the people.) by any means necessary, but is thwarted by the Army, the State Department, the Iraqis and his own staff.
Meanwhile Nielsen chases the story along with a photographer who is a Christian Iraqi and the son of a once prominent Iraqi. When Nielsen's informant/friend is murdered, she seeks revenge by doing "one more story." This leads her to eventually meet the head terrorist who is feared by the corrupt chief. Unfortunately, the meeting sets of a chain reaction that leads to more violence and mayhem. It is a complex story that never mentions issues between the Shiites and the Sunnis, but there is a mutual hatred towards the Kurds. As in most cases, there are good guys and bad guys on both sides, but everyone in some way has sold part of their soul. The actors playing the roles of the Iraqis are brilliant.
My two complaints with the movie deal with storyline and sound. For whatever reason, the writers create some pseudo relationship between Lewis and Nielsen's characters, but then the Nielsen becomes drawn to the young Iraqi photographer, who has loyalty issues of his own. Neither is necessary or has a happy ending. The sound problem lies in the fact that there is too much of it, and it is too loud. Throughout the movie you hear gunfire coupled with a heavy soundtrack. The result it drowns out the dialogue in crucial moments of the movie. It is my understanding the movie was done on the cheap, but any good sound editor could easily have remedied this. Granted the gunfire creates the constant tension that runs throughout the movie, and it makes one realize how draining life must be for anyone living in Iraq. It is also understandable why Connie Nielsen's character looks exhausted and burned out. When she lives Iraq in the end, you wonder how she managed to cope so long and why didn't she leave earlier. This is hard movie to watch, especially for Americans. It is impossible for The Situation to have a satisfying ending, but it is an important one because it does touch on the intricate cultural makeup of a country that is now at war with itself.
An Important First Look at the Iraqi Situation
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/01/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE SITUATION is an eye-opener for the general public who have been kept guessing as to what is happening in the Iraqi War by the edited reporting in the media. It has all the markings and possibilities of a significant statement movie, but unfortunately the seemingly sound script (Wendell Steavenson) and the solid acting are all but lost by the engineers who allowed the dialog to be inaudible: not only is the ambient sound in a war-torn country not controlled by the Dolby process, but the insipid music score covers what free space there might have been for us to hear what the characters are saying. For lip readers the story might make sense, but for other viewers it is a tough uphill fight.
Anna (Connie Nielsen) is a journalist sent to cover the war to send home to the public a realistic view of what is happening in Iraq. She is aided by friendly Iraqis such as Rafeeq (Nasser Memarzia) and informed of American crimes against Iraqis and becomes involved in a dangerous journalistic mission, one that gives many insights into all of the aspects of the Iraqi conflict. She finds love with two men, a CIA operative Dan Murphy (Damian Lewis) who represents the idealistic vision of helping supply the country with medical assistance, and an Iraqi photographer Zaid (Mido Hamada) whose gentle spirit and warm support win Anna's respect, and the love triangle comes into strident focus when the forces involved in espionage clash in a climatic conflict while Anna is held hostage.
Thankfully, the Arabic conversations are accompanied by subtitles and the audience is thus more able to understand the Iraqi side of the story than the inaudible English spoken dialog apparently explaining the American aspects. The cast seems strong (especially Nielsen, Lewis and Hamada) and the supporting cast is excellent. While THE SITUATION is not meant to be the 'tell-all' of the complex Iraqi story, it at least gives credence to both sides of opinion. And that is what could have made the movie well worth seeing. Philip Haas digs in and gives us a tough dose of what the war is about - if only we could hear the dialog! Grady Harp, September 07
Impressive setting, less impressive storytelling
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 11/11/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
Topicality and immediacy are the primary attributes of "The Situation," an otherwise uneven drama based on the real life experiences of an Anglo-American journalist stationed in war-torn Iraq (the film was actually shot in Morocco).
Using her own eyewitness observations as inspiration, first-time screenwriter Wendell Steavenson has crafted a tale of intrigue and romance, played out amidst the bloodshed and chaos that have wracked that nation since the war began in March 2003. The journalist (named Anna Molyneux in the movie) travels around the countryside chronicling the numerous atrocities that have arisen as a result of the tensions that exist among the nation's various sects and parties as well as between the Iraqis and the American forces stationed on their soil. There are any number of shocking, heartbreaking moments scattered throughout the film, moments that illustrate with brilliant clarity the brutal facts of existence in a war-torn setting.
As a movie, however, "The Situation" often comes across as amateurish and awkward, with many of the actors seemingly not quite up to the task of inhabiting the roles they've been assigned to play (although, in all fairness, director Phillip Haas should be forced to shoulder a significant share of the blame for this as well). The plotting is frequently stuffed to bursting, with far too many situations and characters vying for attention at any given moment and with romantic subplots gumming up the works unnecessarily. It's one thing to capture the messiness and confusion of a wartime situation for dramatic and thematic effect; it's quite another to confuse the audience through sheer incompetent storytelling.
Yet, paradoxically, the scruffy, dog-eared quality of the movie actually enhances the verisimilitude of the piece in a way that a slicker, more polished presentation might not have done. For despite the melodramatic approach the filmmakers sometimes take towards the material, the movie doesn't really feel like a "Hollywood" production, and that may well be the best thing "The Situation" has going for it in the long run."