Why the Iraq Films Are Failing

Analysis: The new movies on the war get passing marks for good intentions, says Richard Corliss, but the audience gets an incomplete for poor attendance

Lorey Sebastian / Warner Independent

Actors have suited up for In the Valley of Elah, but so far viewers aren't saluting.

Politicians and pundits were noisy enough during the first four years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but apart from some activist actors, Hollywood was quiet; precious few major films appeared on the Middle East wars. This fall, though, there's a slew of American movies on the subject: In the Valley of Elah, The Kingdom, Rendition, Lions for Lambs and Redacted--and soon, Badland, Grace Is Gone and Charlie Wilson's War. Most are worthy; some feature Oscar-winning actors and directors. And so far, all show how tough it is to turn this war into edifying entertainment for the mass audience.

For one...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!