View Full Version : Dispatches From The Front Lines

01-22-08, 10:23 AM
Obsession with reality makes film different
Result is 'a pulsating pictorial of the effects of terror'

Posted: January 22, 2008
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's note: Reporter Matt Sanchez, currently embedding with military units throughout both Iraq and Afghanistan, has been providing WND readers with a glimpse into the war on terror most Americans have never seen.

By Matt Sanchez

This spring, Pat Dollard's Young Americans will air on cable television, the result of years of work. But there's a good reason for the time it has taken: Pat Dollard is a man obsessed with reality, his reality of the war he experienced while embedded with the 3rd battalion 7th Marines in Ramadi.

Mixing that desire with Hollywood never is simple, either. Getting attention for movie projects often is a large part of the goal, with much of a project's budget going to advertising. Just that attention can make a film a blockbuster or package it for the discounted DVDs. Publicity is everything in Hollywood, and that's what makes the films about the war in Iraq so different.

Despite a lot of attention, films like Redacted have been shunned by mass audiences and panned by critics who actually wanted to like the film or agree with the message.

"I am glad the movie was made, and I wish it were better," said a New York Times film critic in an attempt to be as flattering as possible to much celebrated director Brian De Palma.

Dollard got nowhere near that type of generosity. In an article written for Vanity Fair, Pat Dollard is excoriated as a pro-war cheerleader. Surprisingly, The New York Times also gave an unflattering portrayal of Dollard.

Despite the criticism from places both expected and not, Dollard's Young Americans will be a make or break endeavor.

At a studio in Santa Monica, Pat and his editorial assistant Donnie "dB" Bracamontes put the final touches on the third episode in the Young American series. Critics who complain Hollywood has not accurately portrayed Iraq will need to be careful for what they wish.

Dollard trumps the pretenders by giving such a engaging view of Iraq, I found myself watching the 30-minute episode half-way out of my seat. The episode showed the Marine response to a major bombing at the Ramadi glass factory. What follows is not just a CNNesque report on raw violence, but a pulsating pictorial of the effects of terror.

The first five minutes were exhilarating and frightening. I found myself nodding my head and anticipating what was going to happen, because I had been there before.

Dollard himself makes no pretense of objectivity, his website sells "Jihad Killer" shirts and during Young Americans the audience will hear Dollard's voice give on-the-spot editorials.

"You see, you liberals, this is what you're supporting!"

There really is no substitute for being there, but it takes an entirely different personality to choose a place because it's dangerous.

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