07 October, 2009

Preview: "Generation Kill"

"Generation Kill follows the highly skilled Marines’ 1st Reconnaissance Battalion through the first 40 days of the Iraq War. The 1st Recon Battalion’s mission is to advance north from Camp Mathilda in Kuwait, securing the most treacherous route to Baghdad.

Traditionally, Recon Marines are not deployed for combat missions. Their expertise lies in stealth operations. But in Iraq, they were ordered to race headlong into combat -- in tin-plated open-air Humvees. This misuse of resources is at the heart of the series and provides Simon a through-line that will be familiar to viewers of The Wire: characters futilely fighting the bureaucracy in which they are trapped." Broadcasting & Cable

I was one of the very few who were a bit 'meh' about The Hurt Locker and part of the problem was that I had seen Generation Kill.

It might be a bit unfair to compare a movie with a TV show but I'm going to do it anyway. Both were based on material by journalists who were embedded with troops.

Generation Kill has the reporter in the drama asking questions, learning, being scared and bonding with the troops. It all feels very authentic including the characters and story.

The Hurt Locker uses the experience as background and tries to create a dramatic story. The problem is that however exciting trying to deactivate a bomb is, it's just not enough. The tacked on story and characters were too contrived and predictable for me. But see for youself on DVD at the end the year. (I bet they don't use my quote for the sleeve...)

Generation Kill didn't have any mental real estate with me and so the series lay in my PVR unwatched until I needed the space for Paris Hilton's British Best Friend. However, once I saw the first episode of the drama, the rest quickly followed. Quality writing can make you care about anything.

The series is written by David Simon and Ed Burns (from The Wire) and also Evan Wright who wrote the original book.

See Tom Murphy's review.

'Generation Kill': Everything you need to know about who's who and what's what
Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune

What Generation Kill gets right about the invasion of Iraq.

Ed Burns interviews:

David Simon interviews:

Evan Wright interviews:

David Simon & Evan Wright interview:

Generation Kill,
Channel 4,
11:20pm for 7 weeks


Robin Eveleigh said...

...and not forgetting British director Susanna White's contribution to this great bit of telly:


Robin Kelly said...

Yes, I did forget. I'm not an expert on directing (or writing for that matter) but I was very impressed by the direction

evanwright said...

Both directors, Susanna White (episodes, 1-3, 7) and Simon Cellan-Jones (episodes 4-6), did fantastic work. Both are tough-minded directors and, being Brits, they possessed an outsider's objectivity about the material. In episode five, Cellan-Jones directed one of the most authentic night-fighting sequences ever done on film. I admit, both directors were so excellent I partially overcame my Anglophobia because of them.

Evan Wright
Generation Kill

Robin Kelly said...

Thanks Evan. I'm glad you're making progress with your Anglophobia but you really need to come over here on vacation to confront your fears fully and overcome them. (Unless visiting England was how the phobia started in the first place...)