Uncovered: The War In Iraq

on August 27, 2004 by Michael Tunison
As Michael Moore's quasi-documentary satire "Fahrenheit 9/11" ridiculed President Bush's war-making mostly by playing on viewers' emotions, the equally one-sided "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" appeals to the intellect with complex arguments from some of the administration's more informed critics. In other words, it's a traditional political documentary of the type mainstream viewers avoided like the plague before "Fahrenheit" touched off the current nonfiction feature craze.

Backed by the liberal activist group MoveOn.org, director/producer Robert Greenwald ("Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism") has assembled a distinguished lynch mob of former CIA officials, diplomats, weapons inspectors and Middle East experts with one thing in common: a desire to rail against the administration and its plan for regime change in Iraq. The interviewees are able to do so at considerable length since Greenwald devotes virtually the entire film to talking heads, intercut with clips of rah-rah TV war coverage. As a result, "Uncovered" goes into much greater depth than "Fahrenheit" in examining subjects such as Bush and Co.'s exaggerated claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. And unlike "Fahrenheit," it attempts to give a serious answer to the all-important question of what led the administration to pursue the course it did. All of which requires considerably more mental effort on the viewer's part than "Fahrenheit's" personal lampooning and confrontational drama bites, so it's hard to believe "Uncovered" has much chance of following Moore's film into bigscreen blockbuster-land. On the dry side even for a political doc, the no-frills "Uncovered" is the opposite of a crowd-pleaser. But those willing to forgo style for substance will find it an educational primer on the deeper criticisms being raised by those who oppose the president's Iraq policy. Featuring Graham Fuller, David Kay, Scott Ritter and Joseph Wilson. Directed and produced by Robert Greenwald. A Cinema Libre release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 57 min

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