You can’t say Georgetown University isn’t predictable. The nursery for future State Department Hive Workers never strays far from its text, no matter how far it may stray from home.
Thus The Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar has a film series for its faculty this term. And for a Hallowe’en trick-or-treat party they are showing The Situation, purportedly a look at the situation in Iraq post-Saddam. Given what we know about our State Department workers’ general sentiments about things American, the emotional tenor of this film should come as no surprise.
The American State Department is not your friend.
The situation is this: “The Situation” is a pretty lousy war movie.
It’s also a pretty lousy movie in general, though it’s the film’s somewhat accusatory Iraq War subject matter that’s getting it some attention — deserved or not — that makes the whole thing a little distasteful.
But to be fair, at least the film is a slight cut above the noxious Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, “Home of the Brave,” another Iraq War drama that was apparently buried by the studio. (If you’d seen it, you’d know why.)
This particular film’s title refers to the suspicious deaths of some Iraqi youths, which has the locals up in arms. U.S. Army troops may have been involved in their deaths, an angle that American journalist Anna Molyneux (Connie Nielsen) is investigating.
Anna’s personal life is equally tumultuous. She finds she’s torn between her well-intentioned CIA agent boyfriend, Dan (Damian Lewis), and Zaid (Mido Hamada), an Iraqi photographer.
Director Philip Haas and screenwriter Wendell Steavenson had some good ideas, but the love triangle concept isn’t one of them. If anything, it makes the wishy-washy Anna less sympathetic, since she continues to string the two men along.
Nielsen’s flat performance doesn’t help, either. But she’s not alone in that regard. John Slattery is one-note as a military commander, as is Said Amadis, who plays a corrupt Iraqi official.
Both characters are stock villains, but this type of material doesn’t need either of them. So instead, Haas and Steavenson wind up undercutting themselves as well as the film.
“The Situation” is not rated but would probably receive an R for strong scenes of war violence (shootings, as well as vehicular and explosive mayhem), strong sexual language (profanity and other suggestive talk), simulated sex, brief gore and slurs based on ethnicity and nationality…
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 37% rating, which puts it firmly in the “rotten” category. The good reviews come from the usual anti-American suspects, while the rest, like the one above by Jeff Vice of The Desert Morning News (Salt Lake City, Utah) are more firmly in touch with reality.
You can see why the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, no matter where it is located, would choose this for its Hallowe’en horror entertainment.
You can also see why they’ll never show a John Wayne movie at the school in Qatar. However, since the State Department is all about dialogue unto the death, you’d think they’d be running, say, My Dinner with Andre. One reviewer, Coley Smith calls this film, “witty, urbane, original and very dated.” Just like Foggy Bottom!
Boo to them. Somebody should toilet paper the building in keeping with the spirit of the evening.
Hat tip SDH