If I were British director Nick Broomfield, I would probably respond to concerns about the shallow portrayal of the characters in my latest Iraq War "docudrama," Battle for Haditha, by saying war just ain't all that subtle, baby.
Because Bloomfield—who has also made films about Heidi Fleiss, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, and Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur—doesn't really do subtlety. His latest is an obvious, heavy-handed work relying on nothing more than dialogue littered with platitudes and lots of blood. Based on the massacre of 24 innocent Iraqi civilians by American troops in 2005, even a maladjusted, gore-hungry viewer has a right to expect more by way of insight and analysis than what Bloomfield offers here: "Train train train to kill kill kill!" scream the knuckle-dragging troops, while a downhearted insurgent—who had a steady job under Saddam—opines, "The Americans brought this on themselves when they disbanded the army." Bless his heart.
Yes, massacres are nasty. Yes, soldiers can occasionally be thuggish killers, and Iraqi insurgents sometimes have a good reason for bombing our troops. I just need more depth from 97 minutes of hand-held camera footage. Otherwise, the whole thing comes off looking cheaply conceived, cynical, lazy, and exploitative—all of which, sadly, it probably is.