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Generation Kill

KoshFan

Regular
Anyone seen/heard of this one?

David Simon and Ed Burns -- the masterminds behind "The Wire" -- have adapted a book called Generation Kill for HBO. It's about a Marine reconnaissance battalion which helped lead the way in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as viewed by a Rolling Stone reporter embedded with them.

It's not a terribly pretty picture -- and it's some interesting viewing.

The Marines range from being racist, homophobic, and bloodthirsty to just being scared kids far from home, not quite sure what they're supposed to be doing -- often all in the same individual. Their superiors may have a clearer idea of the job -- but probably not, as the orders handed down from on high are contradictory and often nonsensical. The action focuses on Sergeant Colbert's lead Humvee, with Colbert as the calm voice of reason mixed with a little cynicism (Colbert to waving Iraqis: "Thank you, thank you. Vote Republican"), his driver as the comedic monologist (played by the same guy who played Ziggy in the second season of The Wire), the increasingly confused and bemused reporter, and the battle-obsessed Corporal Trombley, who's trigger-happy but also a crack shot.

The overall impression is one of a pack of heavily-armed young men rumbling through a country they do not understand, following a crossfire of orders from officers who also do not understand, colliding with Iraqis who don't understand them in turn, in a bewildered and tense but relatively disciplined convoy through the desert.

People who've seen The Wire will recognize some David Simon trademarks: no music except what the Marines provide themselves, language heavy with unexplained jargon, episodes trailing off into the night rather than coming to a definitive close. Also, several of the Marines dramatized in the show served as consultants, and one actually played himself. Others in the unit have denounced the book, or presented their own perspectives; the Marine Corps initially disliked the book for being disrespectful of the officers, but now apparently has made it recommended reading.

I'm not sure I like the story -- and it certainly doesn't fill my heart with joy about the Marine Corps -- but it's fascinating, in a kind of can't-look-away fashion.
 
Been watching it religiously, usually on live, which is rare for me as I'm DVR lackey. 7th and final episode is tomorrow night.

and one actually played himself.

Which one?

The show has gotten mostly positive feedback from marines because it's not agenda-driven and it portrays the odd but crucial comraderie amongst the soldiers.

Between this and John Adams, it looks like HBO is making up for the collapse of their original series with their excellent mini-series.
 
Not sure which one -- I have a hard time telling them apart. One of the lesser characters, he's not in Colbert's car.

I don't get HBO, so my buddy shows it to me when I come over. I've only seen episodes 2 and 3.
 
I wonder how this show would play to a non-American audience. There may be some subtle cultural attitude things that would leave a very different impression.
 
i finally got round to this, and i have to say, i'm fucking blown away by it. it certainly doesn't pull its punches.
 

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