As long as there’s no end in sight to the nightmare in Iraq, we must endure the seemingly infinite glut of documentaries committed to sorting through the mess of the war. Regardless of their agenda (whether it’s pointing fingers at the Bush administration, illuminating the complex series of events that allowed for this moment in history, or elaborating on Iraqi suffering through poetic artifice), a point has been reached where novelty seems to matter less than the indignation of those opposed to the war, and No End in Sight seems most notable for having almost nothing to say about the subject that hasn’t already been detailed by other documentaries of its ilk. You can almost sense filmmaker Charles Ferguson shaking his head behind the camera as his subjects—most of them insiders, like former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and ambassador Barbara Bodine, who were closely tied to the Bush administration—discuss how our government lost the war before it even started. But Ferguson is entitled to his embarrassment (is there any other rational response to what our country has wrought in the Middle East?), suggesting that the Iraq War essentially boils down to a failure of imagination—the natural result of naïve men with no foresight and scant military and post-war reconstruction experience meddling where they shouldn’t. Nothing new, really, except No End in Sight goes into haunting detail about our government’s refusal to curb lawlessness in Iraq soon after Saddam Hussein’s ousting and our failure to prevent looters from ravaging Baghdad’s historic libraries and museums (naturally, the city’s oil facilities went unscathed), taking aim at dumbasses who’ve largely avoided being raked over the coals by the popular media, mainly L. Paul Bremmer, Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for post-war Iraq, whose disbanding of Iraq’s 400,000-man military and insistence on the country’s de-Bathification acerbated violence in the region. Not once, but twice, Ferguson plays footage of Donald Rumsfeld trivializing the situation in Iraq during a press conference, arrogantly making jokes about dictionary definitions of words people have used to describe his politics. Ferguson’s reportage may not be completely new, but his use of repetition becomes necessary. With at least 25% of our country still siding with the politics of Bush’s criminal administration, the filmmaker has designed No End in Sight to sink in.
- Magnolia Pictures
- 102 min
- Charles Ferguson
- Charles Ferguson
- Campbell Scott
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