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Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: This documentary is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of military and beltway insiders. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. It's impossible to imagine anyone, right-leaning or left, coming away from this hugely important documentary unshaken by its representation of the United States and its military establishment.
  2. 88
    Why We Fight deserves high praise for making it that much tougher to wear blinders.
  3. Memo to left-wing anti-Bushies: Stories like this work. Don't lecture. Tell stories! Much better!
  4. 75
    Why We Fight attempts, somewhat sketchily, to connect the dots between Ike's Cassandra-like warnings and current events.
  5. 70
    The long line of recent muckraking documentaries that has preceded Why We Fight does nothing to diminish its force.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    This scary, eye-opening documentary looks back from a post-9/11 vantage point to see how Ike’s prophecy has come horribly true.
  7. Mr. Jarecki undercuts his own case -- not just undercuts but carpet-bombs it -- by using the same propaganda techniques he professes to abhor.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. TariqW.
    Jan 24, 2006
    10
    There are two sides to every story and I happen to be on the anti-war front. Thus, this film is quite superb.
  2. Jason
    Jan 30, 2006
    10
    Very well put together and lucid film. Weather you are for the war or against it... why we fight is a must see.
  3. Navid
    Feb 25, 2006
    10
    We are at the point in history that our collective action has far more horrendous effect than we can enviosn. "Why We Fight" tells us, in a We are at the point in history that our collective action has far more horrendous effect than we can enviosn. "Why We Fight" tells us, in a subtle way, what future will be awaiting us. In 1906, no one could predict the coming of WWI and its massive killing of human beings...I think, we are all blind, and the only thing that will sober us all (humanity on earth) is a massive catastrophic war, graver than any war we have seen... Expand
  4. DaleM.
    Feb 26, 2006
    7
    This could have been a great documentary if it stuck more to "why we fight" rather than the more narrow theme of "why are we fighting in This could have been a great documentary if it stuck more to "why we fight" rather than the more narrow theme of "why are we fighting in Iraq." The people in the theatre where I saw it applauded at various anti-current government statements. I feel many missed the broader point that it makes no difference which party has been in power the past 50 years. I applaud this film for reaching toward some broader political statement than Michael Moore's unabashedly anti-Bush film. I disagree with some reviewers that the film was really anti-war. The director seems to have no qualms about WWII or about the NY Policeman's feeling that we ought to get whoever was responsible for 911. However, the director is clearly against the way the military-industrial- congressional complex manipulates things. Unfortunately the director succumbs to pandering to the ready-made anti-Bush crowd by over-focussing on only one of the wars of the past 50 years. One further note: The director spoke after the film at the showing I attended. He said he recently screened the film at West Point and says he has been asked to screen it again there. It's not really surprising that soldiers are interested to learn how they might be being manipulated. I think this points out that the film is not really so much anti-war in general as it is against the collusion between the two major political parties, the defense industry, and the leaders of the military. Expand
  5. Riren
    Feb 3, 2007
    5
    This documentary is unfortunately highly biased and tries to coerce rather than inform, a trend in modern documentary. It does not even come This documentary is unfortunately highly biased and tries to coerce rather than inform, a trend in modern documentary. It does not even come close to answering the sociological question of violence in America, or even the U.S.'s reasons for going to war throughout so much of its history. However, it is very informative about the military industrial complex - indeed, if 45 minutes were cut off the film, it could be repackaged as a documentary about just that, though then the film wouldn't be as sensational. It employs the tired, old propoganda tricks, like quotes taken out of context, a few anonymous quotes used to indicate the minds of millions, and musical montages that don't technically state an opinion but still beat you over the head with it. The film's real answer to why we fight is that there is a vast organization of businesses that profit off of war, and that they have infected politics to make sure they keep raking in the billions. This is a disturbing part of the answer, but unfortunately it is only a part - and the rest isn't that U.S. citizens are all dumb and none of the politicians care. Don't get me wrong, it's a great question. Hopefully a better documentary will try to answer it someday. Expand
  6. AlbertR.
    May 14, 2006
    5
    I went expecting to learn something but I didn't learn anything new, so I'd say this documentary is best for those who need to I went expecting to learn something but I didn't learn anything new, so I'd say this documentary is best for those who need to catch up on US military industrial complex inluences and history, especially in relation to the current war in Iraq. Even so, the approach is too scattershot. I found the film understimulating, a bit tedious. There are some good elements--some of the interviews are surprising, especially a retired female colonel who worked in the Pentagon. I agree that the retired cop is another effective bit. What this film brough home to me is that writing and directing both effective and entertaining documentaries are extremely difficult to pull off. Michael Moore does it but he makes no pretense at evenhanded treatment, which Jarecki seems to want to do. So, see this if you need education on these themes; if you don;t, you can do without it. Unfortunately, I think that the audience for a film like this is more likely to be the latter. Expand
  7. JoseS.
    Jul 7, 2006
    2
    This was more a two hour editorial than a documentary. It was filled with opinions only, no facts. I agree with the general motivation behind This was more a two hour editorial than a documentary. It was filled with opinions only, no facts. I agree with the general motivation behind it, but it was unfocused. The central theme revolves around an impossible to prove theory about the "military industrial complex," implying some collusion between political, military, and industrial leaders. This film has all of the bad aspects of a Michael Moore film, but none of the good. What is most disappointing is that facts exist to support some theories similar to what was attempted; however, the film lacks the sophistication to really do any of these theories justice. Ultimately, it was nothing more than a juvenile, unsubstantiated conspiracy theory. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

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