Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: This documentary reveals the complex realities of the situation in Iraq not seen on the nightly news. Told first-hand by our troops, Gunner Palace presents a thought provoking portrait of a dangerous and chaotic war that is personal, highly emotional, sometimes disturbing, surprisingly amusing ... and thoroughly fascinating. (Palm Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Illuminating, disturbing, evenhanded.
  2. 88
    A riveting and indispensable record of the war in Iraq because it comes from the men who lived it.
  3. A striking new documentary that shows the war in a way it's not been seen before: from the ground up.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Put together by Tucker and his co-director/editor wife Petra Epperlein without a hint of artifice, docu offers up its sounds and images bluntly, and they are very much sounds and images worth having as part of the record.
  5. 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.
  6. Provides an intimate, nonpoliticized, uncensored and totally unappealing look at the lives of U.S. soldiers serving during a grim and uncertain period of insurgency.
  7. Gunner Palace too often makes the grunts look like mean slackers -- precisely the opposite, one presumes, of what was intended.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. MarcR.
    Mar 9, 2005
    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

See all 13 User Reviews