It's sounds a bit smug to describe anything pertaining to war as "interesting," but at the risk of discomfort, I'll say that from a media point of view, the war in Iraq has been interesting. The current situation came about just as ordinary people were becoming comfortable with creating their own forums for information and opinion, from blogs to iMovies, and the result has been a bombardment of documentary films concerning the situation in Iraq, with wild variation in quality. The sheer number of these releases is exhausting, and at this point, it takes a particularly unique perspective for an Iraq documentary to be noticed.
It may seem unlikely that such a film has come from Vice—a media empire (magazine, store, record label, etc.) both adored and disparaged as a digest of hipster ephemera. It was, in fact, an article that appeared in Vice's pages that became the impetus for one of the most unique Iraq documentaries to date: Gideon Yago was documenting the outbreak of the war for MTV News when he discovered Acrassicauda, which claimed to be the only heavy metal band in Iraq. He profiled them for Vice, which led to what is described in Heavy Metal in Baghdad as "an obsession" on the part of the Vice crew, and the film documents Vice cofounder Suroosh Alvi's visits with the band (along with co-director Eddy Moretti of Vice Films and the Spike Jonze-affiliated vbs.tv) as the situation in Iraq, and with it that of the band members, has worsened.
The familiarity of Firas Al-Lateef, Faisal Talal, Marwan Reyad, and Tony Aziz is immediate; they are four young guys obsessed with American metal, whose proficient English is peppered with "dude" and who want, inevitably, what their American counterparts take for granted: the ability to rehearse without having their practice space nailed by a SCUD missile; to wear a band T-shirt without risking getting shot; to be able to travel without facing prejudice for their nationality.
It seems a little unfair that these young men—a mere handful among thousands of Iraqis who have fled a country that really looks like the flames and skeletons that adorn metal album covers—should be chosen for the sake of their musical preferences to be adopted under Vice's wing (the company has raised donations to aid them in getting to Turkey from Syria), but this peculiarity will also serve to draw audiences to one of the most intimate everyman accounts to the greatest crisis of our generation.