Television Series: Generation Kill
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, James Ransone, Stark Sands, Lee Tergesen
Creators: Evan Wright, David Simon, Ed Burns
Directors: Susanna White, Simon Cellan Jones
2003 - The War in Iraq. Who better to form a depiction than The Wire creators, Ed Burns and David Simon. If it’s one thing this pair doesn’t do is sugar coat. Based on the book from Rolling Stone journalist, Evan Wright, Burns and Simon, along with British directors Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones, bring us a miniseries that encapsulates the pointlessness of America’s occupation of Iraq.
Based on the United States Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion’s engagement on Iraq soil, Generation Kill conveys a hard-boiled illustration of what troops experienced throughout the first days of this war. Indecision and incompetence throughout the chain of command, those at the top of the hierarchy appear to have one thing in mind; looking after themselves while company leaders lead their respective teams into the bowels of uncertainty.
Over trained and unsure as to the reasoning of their involvement, the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion is as perplexed as the viewer on what is to be achieved by their actions. Oil? Anti-liberal and at the hands of the Government (who ironically failed most of them throughout their juvenile years, only to be rewarded with some good old fashioned “action in the field”), most don’t believe this when Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright (played by Lee Tergesen who most notably starred in HBO series, Oz, as Tobias Beecher) willingly points out this ‘blinding’ fact; the elephant in the room to most outside of the camouflage and bayonets. “Liberal dick suck” was the response from Josh “Ralp” Person (played by James Ransone - The Wire, How To Make It In America), however Sergeant Brad Colbert (played by Alexander Skarsgard: True Blood) knows the score:
“Machinists: semi-skilled labourers,” says the ‘Iceman’. The dialogue between Colbert and Person lightens the mood throughout one of the darkest times in recent history, paying lip service to pop culture and the class division throughout their country, taking the viewer off on a tangent. That aside, the above quote is quite possibly the most telling sequence throughout this series, closing the deal on what people were thinking all along.
Some will see a similarity with rival HBO war series, Band of Brothers. However unlike World War II, The War in Iraq’s objectives lay at the other end of the spectrum. In fact they weren’t even on the spectrum, even without the assistance of hindsight. You only need to look at the likes of ‘Captain America’ (played by Eric Nenninger - 24) to realise this. Michael Herr’s assessment of war summed up the likes of GK’s most disturbing character. “Look into his eyes, it tells you the whole fucking story,” wrote Herr in his book, Dispatches.
There’s very little bloodshed as far as the First Recon. Battalion is concerned. Hardly surprising considering their enemy comprises of untrained militia. The streets are littered with civilian body parts and an endless bloodshed, while majority of the soldiers’ continue to be baffled by their “employer’s” decision to send them in. That pesky journalist Wright and his theories couldn't be right, could they?
For more check out the IMDB page.