First off, as many have rightly said, this is NOT an Iraqi war film. This is a film about the “rush” of war, and the flirtation with danger, and that fragile catalyst which can send you over the edge and into an early grave.
Never, in my opinion, has this subject been covered so concisely, with such passion or detail. This is simply as study of the men and women, but in this case men, who not only put their lives in danger for others, but for themselves.
The performances were first rate across the board, with an inspired choice and use of cameos, such as Ralph Fiennes, who was pitch perfect, as well as the ever likable and reliable Guy Pearce, and an amusing turn by David Morse.
But all these were far from through away, in fact each demonstrated a different aspect of the war junkie, with Fiennes British soldier, being one of the best. War is tough and each solider must face their own horrors of it in there own ways, but this offered a take on the horror as something that some men are bred for, but not in a monstrous way.
The genius of this film is in its lead, Jeremy Renner, who is portrayed as a headcase of sorts, constantly seeking and reveling in moral danger whilst being very intelligent, skilled, disciplined, whilst given at times going too far, and most importantly, with a strong moral sense; a true soldier.
This is a respectful and yet revealing war film, that deserves the kudos which it has received, and is up there with the best. The reason that I only scored it 9/10 is due to its only real flaw and that is in its pacing.
It does take its time, and for the most part that is not bad thing but there are moments in which it does move a little too slowly and the narrative is quite episodic in nature, and slightly fails in fully engrossing you all of the time.
This was the nature of the beast and even though I loved this film, it failed on that point for me. Otherwise, brilliant, 10/10 critically and a MUST SEE!