- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 25 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: September 15, 2009
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: First Run Features
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Film Comment - 07/01/2008
"[T]he film's most lasting image is of foreign intervention destined for disaster at the dry-run phase, let alone in the field."
An intriguing and sometimes intimate documentary, FULL BATTLE RATTLE is an important peek behind the curtains on military preparations for the most dangerous stage of all: the war in Iraq. The film opens with what appears to be a deadly ambush of a U.S. military patrol in Iraq. In fact, it is one of the many simulations conducted at the U.S. Army's National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert. There, the film follows one particular battalion's travails as they engage in a variety of combat and cultural exercises in the fictitious Iraqi town of Medina Wasl. Led by Lt. Col. Robert McLaughlin, the battalion will have two weeks to show their mettle as they respond to a full range of scenarios, from the promise of reconstruction to the dangers of insurgency, before deploying to Iraq. Also doing their part are some 1,600 actors employed to bring these scenarios to life--everyone from returning U.S. soldiers now playing rebel insurgents to homesick native Iraqis anxious to lead a more secure life in America. Directors Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss take a decidedly impartial attitude towards their subject, though telling moments include one soon-to-be-deployed soldier's frustration at seeing an Iraqi celebrate his U.S. citizenship. And when we learn that the base is being retooled for operations in Afghanistan, FULL BATTLE RATTLE brings home a powerful message of the difference between fantasy and reality in times of war.
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 Mojave Desert, the U.S. Army has built a billion dollar urban warfare simulation – a cluster of towns and villages modeled on counterparts in the Middle East, complete with full-time residents played by Iraqi Americans. With un-restricted access, the filmmakers follow an Army Battalion through the simulation as they attempt to bring peace and prosperity to one village perched on the brink of civil war. As the mood in the village shifts from friendly banter to violent clashes, the Battalion struggles to win the respect of the townsfolk and defeat an insurgency played, ironically, by American soldiers.
From the moment this stunningly realistic war game begins, the stakes are high and the emotions at fever pitch. As reality and fantasy collide, FULL BATTLE RATTLE moves from comic to surreal to poignant – revealing the challenges and perhaps futility in “liberating” people half a world away.
Military (USA) |
Theatrical Release |