Dirty War

"Very Good"

Dirty War Review


How does a nation prepare for the unthinkable?

In BBC Films' Dirty War, Muslim fanatics detonate a "dirty bomb," a conventional explosive rigged to scatter radioactive fallout, in the heart of London. More like The Day After than a season of 24, Dirty War explores the vicious impact of such an attack, as well as how terrifyingly unpreventable it could be.

In the opening sequence, a civil defense drill, unrealistically set up to succeed, goes awry anyway, revealing how unequipped and unprepared British authorities are for an urban terrorist strike. While public officials do their best to put on a brave public face, domestic law enforcement attempts to dismantle a domestic terror cell before they do God-knows-what. The terrorists, meanwhile, successfully import radioactive material in poorly disguised canisters of cooking oil, and plot their attacks.

With a semi-verité style and script, Dirty War effectively forms an atmosphere of fear and foreboding. So what's the point of all this? It seems to be that terrorists can pretty much ruin a section of a city forever if they want to, and there's really nothing we can do about. In that sense, Dirty War is a disaster movie, not really the "thriller" it's promoted to be. When The Day After aired on ABC in 1984, it was intended as a warning against the U.S. and USSR continuing to pursue their nuclear arms race. In Dirty War, however, the warning seems mostly to be against standing in crowded places. Law enforcement does its best to prevent the attack, with only partial success, and the cops point out that even with good intelligence on the IRA, an enemy they understood, Northern Ireland still suffered decades of death from "the Troubles."

Unlike most American takes on Islamic terrorism, Dirty War features a diverse array of Muslims, including a critical member of the counter-terrorism unit and a bare-midriffed hottie working at a convenience store. No disclaimer is needed; the movie's full of careful examples.

Like most American takes on Islamic terrorism, however, you might find yourself cheering for the cops as they commit savage violations of civil rights and international law. If you're the type of person who's skeptical about law enforcement, the modern surveillance state, or the PATRIOT Act, you might find this infuriating. Then again, if you're not, you might wish that the West could make its security fence a little higher. And if you're anyone with half a lobe, you might be spurred to ponder why fanatics would want to kill an international crowd of innocents who happen to be in the wrong 'hood at the wrong time.

Dirty War for the most part stays out of the international politics that breed terrorism, focusing instead on the indefensibility of the homeland. For an American audience, the British accidents will provide no comfort; it's no great stretch to imagine this movie in New York or D.C. But it's harder to imagine what this movie's meant to accomplish, beyond scaring us witless, and perhaps scaring up more funding for British homeland security.



Dirty War

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Monday 24th January 2005

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.