IN A WAR WITHOUT HEROES THEY ARE KINGS.
After the Gulf War, a group of Army officers get their hands on a document showing the location of bunkers that might contain gold bullion that Iraqi soldiers stole from Kuwait… Director David O. Russell’s first major critical breakthrough may look like Kelly’s Heroes (1970) on paper, but its heist story takes on a more satirical and emotional edge with a portrait of how President Bush failed to support those Iraqis who were led to believe that America would help them rise against Saddam. Exploring how soldiers handle humanism and rationality, the film is lively, chaotic and absurd, essentially a wild ride with an enjoyable ensemble cast.
1999-U.S. 115 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Paul Junger Witt, Edward L. McDonnell, Charles Roven. Written and directed by David O. Russell. Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel. Cast: George Clooney (Archie Gates), Mark Wahlberg (Troy Barlow), Ice Cube (Chief Elgin), Spike Jonze, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy… Judy Greer.
Trivia: Clint Eastwood and Nicolas Cage were allegedly considered for Clooney’s part.
Last word: “I always have a shot list, and I always know what I want compositionally. You have to storyboard action stuff, like in ‘Three Kings’. I made that picture because I wanted to come out of that dark, intense, somewhat more cynical place I’d been in as an angry younger man – I’d worked through that in the first few films, and I wanted to do something bigger. Something more muscular, about men who weren’t wobbling so much, like the guys in those first two movies. I wanted to shoot some action.” (Russell, DGA)