DVD REVIEW: Generation Kill

Generation Kill

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From the creators of the acclaimed series The Wire, this seven episode long miniseries set during the initial 2003 military invasion of Iraq exhibits a combination of visceral realism, existential reflection, and beautiful imagery. Following the path of a Marine Corps Recon platoon, highly trained scouts blazing a trail through deserts, villages, and urban centers in the later infamous under armored hummers, the series rides a fine line of embracing military culture while being critical. Interestingly, this trope translates over to the ensemble cast of characters who are committed to their comrades, the mission, and the chance to do their jobs i.e. kill people and blow things up.

While not especially graphic or brutal, the series does suffer from a complete lack of female characters. Each episode has a certain ‘locker room’ mentality that might bother some viewers. Additionally, should a viewer have no interest in the military, the Iraqi invasion, or in the somewhat hypocritical subversive opinions of many of the grunts; this might not be the show for you.

Still, I couldn’t help but watch all seven episodes; the attention to detail as it relates to the culture of the corps and the platoon followed is impressive, each story interesting if only from the point of view that they were written and filmed years after the fact of the actual invasion. Allowing the writers and cast to foreshadow the deadly trials, sticky ethic questions, and murky definition of ‘victory’ in. On a more morbid note, I couldn’t help but wonder which character would be the first to die; wars have casualties after all. The main characters are complete personalities, allowing one a range of potential ‘favorites’; from the unofficially homosexual, to the ice cold sergeant of the lead hummer, to the indecisive company commander who seems oblivious to the dangers the soldiers are thrust into.

By the end of the miniseries there aren’t any tidy conclusions to the Marine’s mission, simply the unknown future for the U.S. armed forces who’ve conquered a country falling apart. Personal relationships are formed and many characters grow and change. For that seems the aim of this series; not to highlight the war, the Iraqis, or even the Marine Corps, but instead on the men who risked their lives to bring death to others.

Kenneth Joachim

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