With Dirty Wars, director Rick Rowley doesn't so much sugar the pill as caffeinate it. An incisive piece of investigative journalism, his documentary also boasts the anxious, jittery energy of a Red Bull junkie and the trappings of a conspiracy thriller. The crusading reporter methodically peeling away the layers of deception in this riveting exposé is Jeremy Scahill, who previously penned the 2007 bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Delving into the clandestine nighttime raids being carried out in Afghanistan, Scahill discovers the horrific collateral damage wrought by the battle for hearts and minds. Exhibiting little regard for his personal safety, he digs deeper and uncovers unsettling details concerning the Joint Special Operations Command and counterterrorism measures undertaken in Yemen and Somalia (where America's bedfellows will cost many viewers sleep). Admittedly, interludes featuring Scahill hunched over his laptop or mapping out his investigation with a wall of maps, photos and scrawled notes occasionally seem a little too contrived. However, such stylistic indulgences ultimately don't diminish the impact of his findings or detract from his assertion that the War on Terror is an interminable hell and the current administration's “kill our way to victory” tactics are only fueling the inferno.
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- Release Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013
- Critic's Score: B
- Watch the trailer