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Generation Kill Battalion Unit Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen, Jon Huertas, Stark Sands, Billy Lush, Jonah Lotan, Wilson Bethel, Pawel Szajda, Chance Kelly, Eric Ladin,

Generation Kill: an honest and accurate account of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq – told from the perspective of a journalist riding with an elite Marine battalion. Several things come together to make this an exceptional miniseries: i) the ensemble cast is phenomenal – you don’t for a second feel like they’re not real soldiers or real people spittin’, shittin’ and singin‘ their way through a dangerous and unfamiliar country; ii) the dialogue, interactions, plot and shooting style make this feel ultrarealistic: you’re sitting in the Humvee with the battalion; seeing their choices, struggles and the ‘greyness’ of the scenarios in which they’re left to operate in – corpses everywhere, very little action, not much heroics, and all part of the larger, poorly-led mess of an invasion. You also get a warts and all picture of the military: how the chain of command has the wrong people are in the wrong places; how some degenerates make it to the front line; the misuse of army personnel and equipment; and how they have the power to wipe out entire villages with a single decision. Despite the eye-opening shocks, action, and tension the most enjoyable parts are the inane chat and time-filling banter between the troops – and moments like the unit singing Drowing Pool’sLet the Hajis hit the floor , Teenage Dirtbag, or Sk8er Boi are pure television. The only gripe I have is that some of the night-time scenes are infuriatingly dark and impossible to see anything – let alone follow what’s happening. Generation Kill is everything that you want from television (entertaining, informative, political) and everything you’d expect from the man behind The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Credible and incredible television.

Score: 9/10

Generation Kill Logo Title Card Crosshair Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen, Jon Huertas, Stark Sands, Billy Lush, Jonah Lotan, Wilson Bethel, Pawel Szajda, Chance Kelly, Eric Ladin,

Four Lions: follows a band of useless homegrown terrorists and their attempt to inflict maximum damage to a London target, hopefully starting an uprising. The only remotely realistic character is Omar: the other four bombers turn the film into a slapstick / comedy of errors and are so unbelievably stupid that it’s hard to take any of the more emotive scenes at face value. This said, the out-and-out satire parts are the best by a long shot and in typical Morris style most of the best jokes are ‘random’-based. The last section (London Marathon attack) is great and salvages an otherwise tepid comedy – almost every single big laugh had already been splurged all over the trailers & TV spots. This trivial take on terrorism will hit a lot of nerves and while it’s quite topical – detention / house raids / torture / Afghanistan – the few serious messages are completely overshadowed by the buffoonery. Four Lions is an alright film, but doesn’t come close to the brilliance of Chris Morris’s previous works like The Day Today, Brass Eye, Blue Jam or even Nathan Barley.

Score: 4/10