A veteran documentary filmmaker, Englishman Nick Broomfield has brought a dramatic treatment of a true story to TIFF this year. And his experience in documentary filmmaking serves the film well: it feels so authentic that you forget it’s drama. Battle For Haditha tells the story of what happened in Haditha, when Iraqi insurgents planted a roadside bomb that killed one marine and injured two others. The marines reacted by killing 24 Iraqis–none of whom had anything to do with planting the bomb.
Lending authenticity is the shooting location in Jordan and the cast–most of whom are non-professionals–which features two major characters who are played by ex-marines who served in Iraq. It really couldn’t feel more real.
The beauty of this film (if I can use that word to describe a film about such a horrendous event) is that it is perfectly balanced. It shows the perspectives of all three sides (the American marines, the innocent Iraqi citizens, and the Iraqi insurgents), and I didn’t find the story pitched in any particular direction. It’s as honest and admirable a look at war as I’ve seen. Very nice work by Broomfield.
→ originally published 2007-09-12