Only the Dead


Biography / Documentary / History / War

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 2911


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March 11, 2019 at 03:48 AM



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1hr 17 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by t-dooley-69-386916 8 / 10

Hard hitting documentary from one journalist's experience in Iraq.

'Time' magazine reporter Michael Ware was sent to Iraq in 2003 to cover the allies take down of Saddam Hussein. The Americans made short work of getting to Baghdad and toppling the regime. In the power vacuum that was created many factions emerged with differing and often extremist ideologies and soon insurrection became rife.

Ware was keen to see the war from both sides and went out of his way to contact the insurgents. This he was able to do after gaining the trust of a number of players. He was then used to 'promote' videos of their attacks and other deeds. He soon became involved with one of the most brutal of these insurgents - Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. In this film he chronicles what he did in a linear format which also relates how the conflict grew and developed, this goes on for some seven years.

The footage is often extremely upsetting; showing the aftermath of suicide bombings, torture and beheadings. He has managed to get some very gritty footage and he did put his personal safety on the line on more than one occasion. The question that is left slightly hanging is whether he was abetting their crimes or merely reporting what occurred. He does mention the ethical conflict but some will find it inadequate. However, that is not the point of the film. This is a true account of what one man did in a war that many will say was totally unjustified. I found it upsetting, moving, heart breaking, visceral and sad. This is a film you will not be able to say you 'liked', it is a film that people should see, the true face of war is often air brushed by the media – this is anything but and as such is a film I can recommend.

Reviewed by seanlisaau 9 / 10

Oh this is essential viewing, but be prepared for the hard work

I Have just returned from seeing this little gem.

This is the most confronting doco I have ever seen. However, every person in what we like to call 'The West' needs to see this film. Every politician who sends our youth to war, every person who denies entry to asylum seekers from war-torn Iraq (and its neighbours), and every person who has an opinion about our 'invasion' of Iraq.

We all know Michael Ware, that crazy Australian CNN reporter who was in the thick of it. I think Michael will excuse my use of 'crazy' because without these men and women who act as correspondents in war, we would never have perspectives not filtered by our governments.

Ware returned from 7 years in Iraq with over 300 hours of tapes from a handicam that he described tonight in person at the screening as his notebook for his writing. This is his 'accidental documentary'.

In this doco we see the fresh-faced Ware in Iraq just before the 2003 invasion. We see him as he becomes the favoured news outlet for the emerging group that would become Islamic State. We see him question himself, how dark the human mind can become and how desensitisation goes hand-in-hand with warfare. We see the fresh- faced young Americans who have been thrust into this warzone as little more that teenagers (and some still are). We see the tragedy for the people of Iraq. Then we see the conclusion that tests our humanity and how we see others. It will shake you.

Take a deep breath, buy a ticket and prepare to never be the same (but I think for the better).

Thanks Michael :)

Reviewed by matthew-45161 10 / 10

The most confronting film

This is the most confronting and in your face film I have ever seen. Documenting 7 years living in Iraq as a war correspondent for TIME and CNN, Michael (an Aussie) tells an amazing personal story of how he was nearly beheaded, worked to tell both sides of the Iraq war and his personal struggles. I watched a screening where Michael did a Q&A afterward, his insightful, concise and articulate depiction of what he went through, the PTSD, the stories he told and his analysis of Middle East, make this one of the best films. He does the American soldiers justice in this film, it is not a Hollywoodised depiction of the glory of war! This is real war.

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