User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
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  1. CorkyT.
    Mar 22, 2005
    6
    One of the best this year!
  2. violetl.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    Images burned on my retina; powerful; unassuming; lets the soldiers tell their own truth!
  3. lupi
    Mar 9, 2005
    1
    A year with this awesome group of soldiers and this what you chose to portray? I saw the Frontline piece and yours was just that: a piece. It seemed like you wanted to show the less intelligent side of these troops. No point to the entire doc.
  4. MarcR.
    Mar 9, 2005
    8
    It's not a bad movie, but they could have done more with it. I suppose with all the embedded coverage of the war, and after the ABC reality series which they pulled off the air after like 3 episodes, this sucker wasn't all that original. However, that being said, it was refreshing to get to know at least a handful of American soldiers. Sure, they rapped, blew off some steam, and It's not a bad movie, but they could have done more with it. I suppose with all the embedded coverage of the war, and after the ABC reality series which they pulled off the air after like 3 episodes, this sucker wasn't all that original. However, that being said, it was refreshing to get to know at least a handful of American soldiers. Sure, they rapped, blew off some steam, and had some fun, but I was proud that this film confirmed for everyone that these men and women are solid folks, good people who are put into and extremely difficult situation and making the best of it. If you're hesitating seeing this film because you think it's going to be political - don't. It's not overtly pro war or anti-war. Probably the most interesting segment was an interview with one of the soldiers who described in detail how they don't fear bullets, mortars, RPGs or anything else conventional -- fear stems solely from the IEDs which are hidden in garbage, and "this whole country is covered in garbage." I guess I had assumed that it wouldn't be overly difficult to spot suspicious looking boxes, etc. in the street, but that segment drove home just how precarious any drive becomes. [They should put the hardened prisoners on "Street Sweeping Duty."] The film also brilliantly showed the heroism of the Iraqi informants like "Ray" and "SuperCop" who risk their lives daily by assisting the Army with intelligence about insurgents and terrorists. SuperCop explains that the insurgents have never known a world free of war and they are afraid to live in such a world -- it's merely a fear of the unknown. The Iraqis who assist the coaltion can envision an Iraq that is free of fear and terror - a place where they can hang out with their friends and family, where they can laugh and be together without that collective pit in their stomachs. Once this way of thinking is spread to the Iraqis at large, we'll be able to leave them, knowing their country is in good hands. Expand
  5. JeffL.
    Apr 16, 2005
    10
    Most people, if you ask them, will tell you that they "support the troops." The exact depth of their support may vary, but is usually characterized by their display of yellow ribbons, flag pins, and bumper stickers. The filmmakers of Gunner Palace - Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, co-directing their first feature - show their support of the troops in a far more tangible, meaningful, Most people, if you ask them, will tell you that they "support the troops." The exact depth of their support may vary, but is usually characterized by their display of yellow ribbons, flag pins, and bumper stickers. The filmmakers of Gunner Palace - Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, co-directing their first feature - show their support of the troops in a far more tangible, meaningful, and poignant manner: by giving the soldiers themselves the opportunity to tell their own stories. The film portrays several months in the lives of soldiers stationed in the converted ruins of what was once Uday Hussain's obscenely opulent Baghdad palace, complete with fully stocked fishing pond, huge swimming pool, ballrooms, and a comically over-the-top bedroom that would embarass Austin Powers. With an immediacy rarely captured in other war films (even documentaries) we watch the soldiers carry out raids on suspected terrorists, attempt to train Iraqi security forces, interact with the locals (some of whom are highly sympathetic, others quite hostile), and blow off steam with the occasional (alcohol-free) pool party. The film doesn't wear any political agenda on its sleeve, with names like Bush and Rumsfeld only occasionally coming up in conversation. There is actually a surprising amount of dark, boisterous, profane humor on display, as the soldiers rely on gallows humor to cope with their often depressing or terrifying situations (of course the best fictional war films, like Altman's MASH and Coppola's Apolcalypse Now are often infused with dark, absurdist comedy.) There is also a lot of music, with many of the young soldiers using rap to vividly and eloquently express their feelings and relay their experiences. Regardless of how you personally feel about the war in Iraq, you owe it to these young men and women to look at this film, get to know them as individuals, and listen to their stories. Then maybe that bumper sticker on the back of the pickup (or Volvo) will take on a whole new meaning for you. Expand
  6. winstons.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    Great film.
  7. RichH.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    Viewing Gunner Palace was a powerful experience for me. I feel it gave me an understanding of the reality of this war that I haven't gotten from any other source, certainly not from the news. I came away with a deepened appreciation of what is required of our soldiers - we ask more of them than most realize. Although I oppose the war and the way it was sold to us, I honor those who Viewing Gunner Palace was a powerful experience for me. I feel it gave me an understanding of the reality of this war that I haven't gotten from any other source, certainly not from the news. I came away with a deepened appreciation of what is required of our soldiers - we ask more of them than most realize. Although I oppose the war and the way it was sold to us, I honor those who are willing to sacrifice so much on our behalf. And I honor Michael Tucker's audacity and courage that allowed him to make this film. Expand
  8. SterlingO.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    Great, intense, must see documentary.
  9. lanaw.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    Moving, compassionate, a must see!
  10. GehrigL.
    Mar 9, 2005
    10
    I saw this in Toronto and was blown away by the film makers "style" and approach. I'm a film maker so I look with an anamorphic eye and was very Pleased by Mike's approach and edit. This is what starts discussion and hope it continues to do so.
  11. JoeF
    Mar 17, 2005
    4
    Okay, to start off, I am a combat veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps., and a huge movie buff, for I hope this will not slant my opinion one way or another of this film. Having said that, this was an okay movie. The fillm gives the average soldier a voice, however, there was no real attempt in the "tying together" of a plot, or artistic semblance whatsoever. The filmmakers don't grant Okay, to start off, I am a combat veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps., and a huge movie buff, for I hope this will not slant my opinion one way or another of this film. Having said that, this was an okay movie. The fillm gives the average soldier a voice, however, there was no real attempt in the "tying together" of a plot, or artistic semblance whatsoever. The filmmakers don't grant you enough substance to make an educated decision about our U.S. forces in Iraq. Any one of us could get "war" footage and freeze a frame here and there, and overlay music for effect. Yet this was too choppy, and extremely disorganized. The moviegoer wants to come out of this film either feeling patriotic, or, build upon their will to get our troops home and out of this cluster of a situation. This movie makes you feel empty afterwards, and with no closure, other than the fact that our men and women are are dying each day, without reason. Either attempt to provide the reason or give reason for our occupation. There was far too much footage of our troops smokin' and jokin' without real substance. You get the feeling throughout the entire movie that something dramatic is about to occur, and never does, until the end of the film in which the narrator sloppily ties together loose ends instead of providing true meaning during the film. The in film narration is horrible, and is sporadic at best. Yes a documentary, but please have a point. For the average moviegoer, this may just be a "sneak peek" into the lives of those that serve and defend our country, in which they may never see. I guess this is a good substitute for those of you who just have to see war, and lust after the 24 hour news footage, that is long since gone. However, in that regard that is all this film really is, extended footage, and not much else. Kudos to our troops serving our country and through candid interviews, contributing their opinion. That is the one true bright light of this film. However I feel without a strong base, all this film amounts to is cheesy one minute clips of boys just being boys. Rent it, and volunteer your time at your local VA. Expand
  12. PatrickP.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    I had the privilege of seeing the premier of Gunner Palace this past weekend at the Angelica Theater in New York City. This is one of the most truthful documentaries of the war on Iraq! As an American who has a brother that served 14 months in Iraq, I can attest that every day I looked for an email, or waited for a phone call. Everyday I watched CNN or Fox News to see if anything bad, or I had the privilege of seeing the premier of Gunner Palace this past weekend at the Angelica Theater in New York City. This is one of the most truthful documentaries of the war on Iraq! As an American who has a brother that served 14 months in Iraq, I can attest that every day I looked for an email, or waited for a phone call. Everyday I watched CNN or Fox News to see if anything bad, or good, had happened in his sector of Baghdad. I watched my mother and father cry out of joy when my brother returned home, safe and sound. I also read the paper when attackers killed 150 Iraqi soldiers, men who are trying to work to stabilize their own country so that they may have it back, and it wasn Expand
  13. RichP.
    Mar 7, 2005
    10
    It would be great to say that there are some great people fighting to defend their Country. But they are not defending their country and they know it. They are fighting for a lost cause and this fantastic documentary shows that the soldiers who fight in ANY war deserve respect, whether you agree with the politic or not.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Gunner Palace too often makes the grunts look like mean slackers -- precisely the opposite, one presumes, of what was intended.
  2. 88
    A riveting and indispensable record of the war in Iraq because it comes from the men who lived it.
  3. 70
    For the soldiers, it's about living to see the next day and living with the things they see, and Gunner Palace honors their perspective like no other Iraq documentary has to date.