No End in Sight



Magnolia Pictures

A damning appraisal of America's handling of the Iraq war, post-Mission Accomplished, "No End In Sight" may not offer up any fresh revelations, but this effectively assembled documentary puts it all in valuable, if depressing, perspective.

Executive produced Alex Gibney, who directed "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," the film (it might just as easily have been called, "Iraq: Not the Smartest Guys in the Room") took home the Documentary Special Jury Prize from Sundance this year.

First-time director Charles Ferguson examines the quagmire that is the U.S. involvement in Iraq through first-hand accounts by some of those who knew the score, like former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (who was in charge of Baghdad in the spring of 2003) and a number of military officials, including Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.

Ferguson's talking heads paint a vivid portrait of an administration whose lack of a thought-out, post-invasion exit strategy led to a succession of alienating policy snafus, which, in turn, incited the waves of insurgency that shows no signs of abatement.

While the film dutifully dispenses the factoids -- 3,000 U.S. fatalities, 20,000 American wounded and an escalating price tag that has eclipsed the $2 trillion mark -- it's most potent in its sobering distillation of that pre-existing data.

Factor in Campbell Scott's efficiently impartial narration, and "No End In Sight" achieves the neat trick of feeling like a Michael Moore movie, but with no Michael Moore in sight.
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