Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Invisible War (2012)

Director: Kirby Dick. 93 min. Not rated. Documentary.

Tragic documentary about the prevalence of rape in the US army, and how it's sweeped under the rug by the highest authorities, in somewhat ridiculous ways. Could've been a short documentary rather than a feature-length, as the film is almost solely constructed of repetitive interviews; i.e. after awhile, the intense topic becomes boring, which is a disservice to the victims involved. If the prevalence of rape is so high (20%) that the government pathetically categorizes it as an "occupational hazard", why are women in the army in the first place? Or at least why aren't their quarters separate from men?

PS: For a better documentary by the same director, watch This Film is Not Yet Rated.

Mo says:


  1. I have to say that I found this shocking documentary in no way boring. It was easily the equal of the Paradise Lost series. I just hope it doesn't take so long for these people to be given justice, although I expect that will be the case.

  2. I agree that the subject matter itself was not boring at all, but I guess aethetically speaking, maybe they could have investigated other layers of the problem, rather than interviewing multiple people saying the same thing. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this is nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar this year.

  3. "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" was a real eye opener and helped me understand the US rating system. The same problems are true of the UK rating system, violence is fine but sex is a no no. It's all crazy and back to front. It is worse in the UK though as without a certificate a film will never be released. We also had the insane "video nasty" craze in the 80s which saw even classic horror films like The Evil Dead banned.Later they were re-released but heavily cut. They even cut the claymation climax of the Evil Dead??? It was infuriating. Now they are available uncut and if anything doesn't get a release we can order them from the states via amazon or other online outlets.

  4. The part of "This Film is Not Yet Rated" that amazed me, was that there are certain restrictions about picturing the army in a negative light, and how the army supervises early screenings of any kind of related movies.

    I believe the core of the problem with censoring movies, is the concept of insulting the viewer's intelligence. At least that's the most bothersome part to me. I can't stand the notion of someone else deciding for me what is good or bad for my mental health. This whole "nannyism" thing is so irritating.

  5. I had heard about the military involvement years ago and was shocked then, its a wonder that many of the Vietnam movies that show the army in a very negaitive light ever got made.

    I agree with you about censorship, the UK really looks down on the poor uneducated masses. Movies are rarely if ever banned now but there are films that are deemed too disturbing to be given a rating. For some reason private film clubs can screen them but if you live in a rural area you have no chance of seeing them.

    I have watched a few of the movies featured in "This Film is Not Yet Rated" and while they were generally quite poor I couldn't see why they needed cuts to avoid an NC17. "But I'm a Cheerleader should have been a PG. To be honest I have seen more explicit gay love scenes in British soaps.
    "Boys Don't Cry" is a fine film, it received an 18 certificate in the UK but really should have been a 15 in my view. This fine film features a brilliant performance by Hilary Swank.

  6. There are some movies that are just sad to be getting ratings making them inaccessible to younger people. "Girls Don't Cry" is a very good example, where it has some valuable concepts for youngsters to learn - especially people who have the problem Hilary Swank is trying to portray in the movie.

    Another example that comes to mind from a few years ago is "Almost Famous", which has quite an inspiring story about a teenage reporter following a rock group, but which got an R rating, I guess because Kate Hudson shows a nipple a fraction of a second somewhere in the movie. Stupid.

    On the other hand, it's been proven that no matter how much violence you show in a movie, you almost never get an NC-17 rating. Just look at Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and the magnitude of realistic violence shown. It merely got an R rating.

    So the idiotic take-home message is: Sex is significantly more taboo than violence. This point is very well made in Milos Forman's "The People Vs. Larry Flynt".