The wave of recent films devoted to exploring the Iraq War continues in 2008 with the new documentary, Body of War, to be released nationwide this spring. The film, directed by talk show veteran Phil Donahue and award-winning documentarian Ellen Spiro, is the story of Tomas Young, an American soldier paralyzed after taking a bullet to his spine one week into his tour of duty in Iraq. As Young adjusts to his condition, he begins to question the U.S. government’s rationale for going to war, eventually becoming an anti-war activist himself. Body of War, currently being screened on the festival circuit with a recent stop at SXSW, debuted to great acclaim in 2007, picking up the National Board of Review’s prize for Best Documentary.
The movie’s two-disc soundtrack, released on March 18, 2008, has also been drawing attention to the film, as musical giants from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young to Pearl Jam all contributed songs. The 30-song compilation also includes tracks from such varied figures as Tori Amos, Public Enemy, Talib Kweli and Cornel West. All proceeds from the soundtrack are being donated to support the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War.
As MovieMaker reported in its Fall 2007 story, “Hollywood Goes to War,” a number of powerful documentaries have taken on the Iraq War in recent months. While the most visible—and polarizing—entry since the war began may have been Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), others, including Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-nominated No End in Sight and Robert Greenwald’s trilogy, Unprecedented, Uncovered and Unconstitutional have likewise taken up the torch. This fall also saw several high-profile feature films tackle controversies surrounding Iraq, including The Kingdom, In the Valley of Elah, Rendition and Lions for Lambs. Yet, despite the weak box office returns experienced by most of these films, many more Iraq-focused features are on tap for the near future and drawing big Hollywood names to boot, including Kimberly Peirce‘s Stop-Loss starring Ryan Phillippe (out in theaters now); Ridley Scott‘s Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe; and Paul Greengrass‘ 2009 drama, Green Zone, to star Matt Damon.
For more information on Body of War, visit www.bodyofwar.com.