Live From Baghdad
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Platform: DVD MOVIE Publisher: MOVIE Packaging: DVD CASE
Live from Baghdad tells the story of how CNN became the only news agency to cover the first Gulf War from within Baghdad. Michael Keaton stars as CNN executive producer Robert Wiener, who took a small news team into the Iraq capital after the invasion of Kuwait. Along with producer Ingrid Formanek (Helena Bonham Carter), Wiener jousted with teams from other networks, fought with antiquated equipment, and wrestled with Iraqi attempts to control information--in particular with an information minister named Naji (the outstanding David Suchet). After numerous setbacks, Wiener's team triumphed when they had the only connection from inside Baghdad as the American forces began dropping bombs. Though a TV-movie about TV news coverage is a bit incestuous, Live from Baghdad makes for compelling viewing; the script and direction are taut, performances are excellent all around, and the perspective on the war is multilayered. --Bret Fetzer
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I watched the first gulf war on tv as a kid and learned about it live from the reporters showcased in this movie. Looking back and watching it now, after having participated in the latest war in Iraq, it strikes me how little has changed. There are still great people on both sides of the conflicts who are just trying to live their lives and do their jobs and we often forget about them.
The question is whether or not the story is accurate or if the filmakers have taken "liberties." I tend to think that author and scriptwriter Wiener has given himself a small pat on the back in his portrayal of himself. In the movie he starts off as a hotshot relentlessly pursuing his agenda. When he inadvertantly puts the life of an oil worker in danger he finds himself questioning his journalistic ethics as well as his own morality. Ultimately his motives are noble and he is absolved of any wrongdoing. So what's the real story? Is this realism or idealization? I'd say it's some of both. In what proportions it is hard to say exactly. I'll give the movie the benefit of the doubt.