Shadow Company is a compelling film about men for hire who go into very dangerous places in the world to act as security agents for companies; to fight for governments; or whoever hires them. They are apolitical and are seemingly very good at what they do. The film takes no sides, doesn't pull any punches, shows us just how dangerous and bloody fighting in todays troubled hot spots is.
Some graphic footage of burning bodies may be disturbing but it did happen. There are about 20,000 mercenaries in Iraq at present. Others are in African countries where there is civil war. Some are in Afghanistan; or any place that is dangerous and there is need for men-with-guns; i.e. security agents.
Film-makers Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque were successful in getting the complete cooperation and trust of the mercenaries, called private security contractors, and through interviews and following along, we have a look at their day. Two of them, (Slavko Itic & Corbus Claassens) are articulate and matter-of-fact about the way things are in their jobs. The most horrific details are recounted with no histrionics. It is just the way it is. The extras are a great watch too. One long interview with Claassens recounts a hilarious story about a blow up doll. It's odd and a little scary. If the the guy in their company was just kidding, it would be one thing. But it sounded like he actually had conversations and 'fights' with his 'wife.' Yes, folks, he married his 'doll.' I won't spoil the rest of the story by further comment, but it is seriously strange - and very funny.
The commentary by Nick and his partner, Jason, gives some more insight into what they did and why they picked certain parts and places to film . And how a lot of the film is shot in natural light and why.
All in all I am so glad I had a 'headsup' on this film. Interesting subject which needs to be explored. Interesting people I for one would never have known about. Thought provoking. I rated it 10/10."
Shadew Company - A Truly Wonderful Documentary
Tense L. Smith | Niceville, Florida | 10/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shadow Company is an extremely well-made documentry film, which tells of the roles of these contract soldiers who are fighting along side our military Iraq and Sierra Leone. I had heard stories of contract soldiers, or mercenaries, but had no idea how important a role they played until this film. Nick Bicanic and all those involved in putting together this wonderful account, should be praised for their efforts in putting the truth of what is going on over there out, which is a far cry from what the media wants us to see. It's something every American should watch, as well as being shown in the schools. The interviews from some of the journalists, contract workers, and even Stephen J. Cannell, a Hollywood Producer, well known to American TV, are very informative. An added treat to the film is the voice-over reading of "letters to home" of one of the members of Shadow Company, James, by Scottish actor Gerard Butler, who adds a real touch of humanity and heart to the film. This is one documentry that holds your interest and doesn't waiver or let you down. I hightly recommend this DVD to every American who supports, or not, the efforts of our fighting men in the Middle East, with praises for these brave and wonderful non-Military contract soldiers, who are helping so wonderfully in the overall effort there.
Tense L Smith - Niceville, Florida"
The Must See Doco on the Privatization of War
RYP | USA | 10/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First I must say that I am in the film as an interview subject but I encourage anyone who wants to understand how warfare is shifting from the citizen soldier to the hired gun to watch this film.
Kudos to Nick and Jason on their first film and the professional look and feel of the project.
The documentary ties together the links between mercenaries, contractors and soldier and goes inside the minds and feelings of men who choose this way of life. And maybe more importantly, inside the hearts of people who are affected by this violent profession.
Saving A Dying Genre
Joe Arrigoni | Sacramento, CA USA | 10/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Fahrenheit 9/11 and "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" I feared the political documentary genre was forever lost in liberal bias. Shadow Company restores this genre to its rightful place of respectability.
Far too often documentary film makers shape their films to fit their predetermined conclusions and present only the footage that backs up their premise. Shadow Company takes a fair and balanced approach that few filmmakers, or news outlets for that matter, have the courage and integrity to take.
Shadow Company is an extremely insightful, educational, and entertaining look at a remarkable and very controversial event in contemporary politics and modern warfare. Anyone hoping to have a well informed conversation about the war in Iraq needs to see this film. Conservatives and liberals alike will call it one of their favorite films of the year. "
D. Budzik | Fresno, CA USA | 07/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is the journalism biased? Yup. Don't put Nick Bicanic down for journalist of the decade or anything, but he did an excellent job of following the members of merce... oh, sorry, we're not supposed to used the pejorative "mercenary" anymore. We're supposed to say Private Military Company. The people he interviewed come across very candidly and Bicanic really doesn't pull any punches when discussing an industry that is still in its adolescence. Based on the information presented in this film, it will be extremely interesting to see where the industry goes from here. It was very informative, cleverly done, and definitely keeps your attention. Might be a little dry for non-military or history afficionados, but if you're not into either of those, you probably aren't watching this movie anyway."