WHAT A REMARKABLE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS
A.O. Scott, reviewing the Iraq War movie Stop-Loss in today's New York Times:
...We have just marked the fifth anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq and the 4,000th American military death since the war began. The level of violence appears to be creeping up again, and troop levels are likely to stay where they are, at least until the next president’s inauguration.
So in some ways, there is a grim, accidental timeliness in the release of "Stop-Loss," which focuses on the ordeal of American soldiers in and out of combat....
OK, it wasn't foreseeable that this movie would come out just as we reached the 4,000 milestone, or during a particularly noteworthy uptick in the violence -- but Scott's implication seems to be that this movie wouldn't have been particularly timely under less headline-grabbing circumstances, i.e., a non-round death toll accompanied by the mere one-a-day rate of fatalities we had (more or less) in recent months before the violence increased. Tell that to the kids (young people are the movie's presumed target market -- it's distributed by MTV Films) who are still getting shipped over there.
Iraq may have faded from the headlines for a while, but the fighting and dying never stopped, and it's been clear to anyone who's been paying attention that it isn't going to stop as long as George W. Bush sits in the Oval Office. So surely it was obvious that releasing this movie around the fifth anniversary of the invasion (hardly an "accident") also meant releasing it while the bloodshed continued. That's timely.