Sunday, May 22, 2016

Three Kings

Movie Name: Three Kings
Year of Release: 1999
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Cliff Curtis, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy, Mykelti Williamson, Judy Greer, Holt McCallany
Genre: Action, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
After making a name for himself with two interesting independent films, "Spanking the Monkey" and "Flirting with Disaster", director David O. Russell tackled his first big budget feature film (which was plagued with a series of conflicts between him and George Clooney, something that would follow this director's reputation to this day). "Three Kings" follows the story of a group of American soldiers in Iraque, after the end of the war. While disarming one Iraqi soldier, one of the soldiers discovers a map, and they all set off on a mission to retrieve gold they think is stored in that location (gold stolen from Kuwait). They find the gold indeed, but as they're about to leave, they free a group of Iraqi prisoners, including a dissident rebel leader, therefore violating the imposed ceasefire and triggering a firefight. The group ends up getting separated, and what follows is their attempt to help the rebels and keep the gold.
"Three Kings" was a hit both critically and commercially, placing George Clooney's career on a good track, the same going for Mark Wahlberg's. The film is a satire at the insanity of war, and how easy it is to lose perspective of what is really important (when you're in the midst of something as surreal as a war, the blurred lines of what's right and wrong are easily crossed). These "three kings" (an allusion to the Biblical tradition), are all less than holly, with their motivation being more of a mercenary, more so than the kindly saviors. These anti-heroes do get their conscience and redeem themselves, but the film does use satire to showcase how everyone ultimately wants to make a dollar out of something as dramatic as war. It's a film filled with ideas, beautifully shot (by Newton Thomas Sigel), with a great performance from George Clooney who would only get better as his career progressed. A great film from a very interesting director.