While trying to catch up with all the March 2nd Oscar nominees for best documentary, to me Dirty Wars (also streaming on Netflix) outranks the favorite The Square (about idealists in Egypt's Tahrir Square), because in the end I believe seeking truth, whatever the ideology or narrative techniques, trumps mostly selling a story, when shortcuts come at the cost of infotainment.
Through the eyes and work of self-made, relentless, big picture investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, the film documents how he looks into the deepest, darkest corners of military U.S. foreign policy. The topics of his globetrotting queries are no longer a secret as now debates of whether to drone-kill another U.S. citizen terror suspect freely circulate in mainstream media. But this discussion obscures the more important reporting of going to see drone strikes firsthand and what exactly the attacks caused.
Can you imagine for a second looking into the sky with a foreign made drone heading toward the highway you are driving on? Or can you fathom being woken up in the middle of the night by masked men from a covert foreign military unit pouncing down doors in your town?
The most chilling parts of the movie are perhaps in Somalia, where warlords attest to U.S. "techniques." This interview with director Richard Rowley gives some background on the making of this film and some of their scary reporting adventures.