Manage your own movie collection and always keep it with you with our Apps. Price track movies and get price drop notifications instantly. Become a member to take full advantage of all site features.

Best Blu-ray Deals

Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals | Price drops  
 All countries United States United Kingdom Canada Germany France Spain Italy Japan
Batman: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Blu-ray)
Dexter: The Complete Series 1-8 Collection Exclusive Gift Set (Blu-ray)
Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Double Pack (Blu-ray)
The Big Chill (Blu-ray)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Blu-ray)
House of Cards: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
The Resident Evil Collection (Blu-ray)
Nymphomaniac: Volumes I and II (Blu-ray)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D (Blu-ray)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Blu-ray)
Life (Blu-ray)
Sorcerer (Blu-ray)
The Protector 2 3D (Blu-ray)
Little House on the Prairie: Season Three (Blu-ray)
The Swimmer (Blu-ray)
Pacific Rim (Blu-ray)
Ray Donovan: Season One (Blu-ray)
Ken Burns: The Roosevelts (Blu-ray)

Dirty Wars

2013 | 90 min | R | 1.85:1

Dirty Wars


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

User reviews

No user reviews yet, post one

Movie appeal



Theatrical release date

 07 June, 2013
 29 November, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



Overview Preview Cast & crew Screenshots User reviews News Forum

Dirty Wars


Dirty Wars Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, June 20, 2013

“Dirty Wars” is journalism, but it’s the type of journalism typically found on news magazine programs and cable networks. In his attempt to reach out and reveal the U.S. Government’s secret war on the rest of the world, reporter Jeremy Scahill welcomes the birth of his own myth, turning “Dirty Wars” into a love letter to his own research methods and capacity for understanding. There’s an abundance of searing, illuminating information contained within director Richard Rowley’s documentary about untoward military activity, but there are even more glory shots of Scahill in motion, recreating critical moments of his investigation while he blasts the camera with blue steel.

An investigative journalist and National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine, Scahill has witnessed his fair share of important stories concerning the disagreeable activity of the U.S. Government, including his dissection of Blackwater U.S.A. While in Gardez, Afghanistan, Scahill uncovered strange activity that found the U.S. Military conducting secret missions to take out enemy targets, actions that resulted in heavy civilian casualties the White House had no interest in taking credit for. Building a narrative through interviews with Afghanistan citizens, studying their home movies, Scahill came across activity from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a covert unit carrying out suspicious and destructive actions across the Middle East. Following leads to Yemen, Scahill began to grasp the enormity of JSOC’s presence and its reflection of U.S. Military policy, hunting for evidence that could link the unit to the White House.

Scahill seems like a perfectly respectable gentleman, able to balance the demands of his heart with the needs of journalism, so it’s difficult to understand how much input he had in the ultimate shaping of “Dirty Wars.” It’s Rowley who orchestrates much of the picture’s overblown quality, wedging in countless shots of Scahill on his mission, trying to keep the star of the show in a submissive, reflective stance to maximize the validity of the work. We see Scahill typing on his iPad, interviewing subjects, taking notes, traveling around the world, studying evidence, and simply staring off into the great unknown, taking in the abyssal depth of his story. In fact, there’s more footage of Scahill than anything connected to JSOC, making “Dirty Wars” something approaching a vanity film, working carefully to transform the writer into a man on a mission, thus increasing the tension of the documentary. Most of these Scahill images are decoration as well, with dramatizations employed to give the material visual life, cooked to make a movie, not to provide a spellbinding inspection of the facts.

Despite its incendiary accusations, “Dirty Wars” feels masturbatory, like a work of mythmaking from a successful journalist out to transform himself into a documentary superstar. The film is far more approachable simply studying the haunting images of disaster tied to JSOC’s effort to take out al-Qaeda targets, absorbing the pain of Afghanistan natives mourning the loss of innocents, including children. The sheer shock of these actions is enough to fuel a sense of outrage and charging curiosity, yet Rowley doesn’t grasp the primary ache of these moments, soon funneling them into personal moments for Scahill to show off his unyielding compassion, with a single shot of the writer holding hands with an Afghan civilian used twice in the picture without ever establishing context.

Matters improve for “Dirty Wars” when it actually concentrates on the bizarre turns of the JSOC story. Time exposing the saga of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who grew into a powerful Muslim leader carrying suspicious ties to global terrorism, is captivating though ultimately unfulfilled. There’s not enough time to pore through al-Awlaki’s story, leaving the significant subplot reduced to Scahill questioning the White House’s decision to target the man for assassination instead of bringing him in for trial. The production also visits Somalia to piece together JSOC’s place in the use of warlord law, slaughtering enemies via puppetry, training the locals to kill as neatly as Americans.

“Dirty Wars” isn’t an investigative piece with neat hospital corners, with the subject rapidly shifting as the years pass. With the death of Osama bin Laden, JSOC was briefly turned into heroes, disrupting Scahill’s case for a moment. There’s a germ of an idea here for a scathing, richly researched vivisection of White House cowardice, but that singular power, that bravery, is lost to a glossy, obviously managed presentation of documentary filmmaking. Ultimately, “Dirty Wars” doesn’t feel like authentic reporting, it’s more of an audition reel.

Director: Richard Rowley

» See full cast & crew

Have you seen this movie?

Rate and write your own review


Get Daily Blu-ray Deals

* We do not share your email and you may opt out at any time.

Top Blu-ray Deals


The best Blu-ray deals online. Don't miss out on these great deals.

See Today's Deals »

 Top movies

Latest Deals United States

The latest deals on Blu-ray movies
at Amazon.

Show new deals »

Trending Blu-ray Movies
1. Noah
2. Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery
3. Noah
4. Noah
5. Jaws
6. Scanners
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Motion P...
8. The Legend of Billie Jean
9. Insomnia
10. The Other Woman
11. The Great Race
12. Inside Llewyn Davis
13. A Hard Day's Night
14. The Essential Jacques Demy
15. The LEGO Movie

Trending in Theaters
1. Lucy
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
3. Noah
4. Hercules
5. The LEGO Movie
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Under the Skin
8. Maleficent
9. Godzilla
10. Transformers: Age of Extinction
11. The Purge: Anarchy
12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
13. 22 Jump Street
14. 300: Rise of an Empire
15. God's Not Dead

Top 10 Sellers United States
1.  The Lord of the Rings: The Motion P...
2.  Noah
3.  Divergent
4.  The LEGO Movie
5.  Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourt...
6.  Batman: The Complete Series
7.  Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery
8.  X-Men: Days of Future Past
9.  Transformers: Age of Extinction
10.  Heaven Is for Real
  » See more top sellers

Top 10 Pre-orders United States
1.  Divergent
2.  Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourt...
3.  Batman: The Complete Series
4.  X-Men: Days of Future Past
5.  Transformers: Age of Extinction
6.  Godzilla 3D
7.  Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Double Pack
8.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 3D
9.  How to Train Your Dragon 2
10.  Lucy
  » See more pre-orders

Top 10 Bargains United States
1.  Noah
$17.99, Save 55%
2.  Divergent
$19.96, Save 50%
3.  The LEGO Movie
$17.96, Save 50%
4.  Transformers: Age of Extinction
$19.99, Save 50%
5.  The Other Woman
$19.99, Save 50%
6.  Rio 2 3D
$22.99, Save 54%
7.  The Wolf of Wall Street
$11.99, Save 56%
8.  Pacific Rim
$9.99, Save 60%
9.  Inside Llewyn Davis
$9.99, Save 72%
10.  The Legend of Billie Jean
$5.19, Save 48%
  » See more deals

Most Popular Blu-ray Movie Deals

Batman: The Complete Series

 United States

$269.97 $189.99

Inside Llewyn Davis

 United States

$35.99 $9.99

Dexter: The Complete Series 1-8 Collection Exclusive Gift Set

 United States

$544.99 $306.86

Best Blu-ray Movie Deals »

This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 All rights reserved.
Registration problems | Business/Advertising Inquiries | Privacy Policy | Legal Notices