This watchable Iraq War documentary, co-directed by long-time talk show host Phil Donohue and Ellen Spiro, is likely to divide those willing to seek it out.
It apparently aims to profile a wounded Iraq war veteran, Tomas Young, who enlisted for Army service in Afghanistan shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Instead, in 2004, he happened to be sent to Saddam Hussein's Iraq where he was paralyzed below the chest while riding in an unarmored humvee. It lead to Young being an intense anti-war advocate.
Perhaps Body of War is too biased for its own good as it segues between Young's personal hardships and senators debating or reiterating about authorizing the war of "Operation Iraqi Freedom".
Donahue and Spiro don't really make Young's travails vital in an incisive way like a Coming Home or this year's little seen, yet intelligent drama Stop-Loss. He is really their spokesman in a way, along with much exposure for ex-KKK member, West Virginia's Sen. Robert Byrd, who was one of nearly two dozen who voted nay.
Working from the "absolute moral authority", the main conceit, when those like Cindy Sheehan had clout, is reduced to exploitation on a personal level. The political tent-pole doesn't really hold much ground as Young's parents who are given disparate time on screen, apparently based on their perspective of the war. It may lead to some to check the list of Iraq War casualties as an unfulfilled mission looks to be endless.
Thus, despite some unnerving, yet finally light stuff involving a catheter as Tomas copes with his loving mother, Body of War is hard to dislike even if its moral authority diminishes a potentially captivating procedural and character study.
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