Occupation: Dreamland Movie Review
But I suppose war really is like a dream -- not quite real when bullets are whizzing by and you never get hit, until you wake up and you find your best friend got hit.
Occupation: Dreamland may as well be the deleted scenes from Jarhead, only here we follow a division of Army soldiers instead of marines. Oh, and this is a documentary, from the second Gulf War, not the first. If you've ever seen a war documentary -- or a war movie of any kind -- you know what you're in for: Lots of kids alternately acting tough and scared for their lives, waiting for either a return home or possibly death.
The usual emotion is on display: Chutzpah, racism, patriotic pride. And of course we see the usual procedural details: Gear, training, all the usual stuff.
What's missing is, sadly, much of a reason for this movie to exist. Aside from the year it was made, there's nothing that Dreamland adds to a very, very full genre. Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, directors, haven't really imbued the film with anything unique, and the division we follow is hardly memorable. The only time the film really reaches a level beyond the expected is when one of the soldiers is killed. Here we see the effect that death has on the division, although unfortunately Olds and Scott appear to have been absent in the immediate aftermath, and we don't really get a feel for how the death affected the crew in the short term.
DVD includes commentary track, deleted scenes, a "where are they now?" featurette, and a timeline of the attack on Fallujah.