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REVIEW: 'The Last 600 Meters' Uses Stunning Images to Bring Battle of Fallujah to Life

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It’s hard to say this, but say it I must: one of the reasons that so many current conservative films don’t get distribution or gain success is that they stink. You heard that right. Many of them simply suck.

Yes, political bias is the main reason conservative films don’t get distribution; there are a ton of crappy liberal films that get distribution. But that doesn’t change the fact that some of the most highly publicized conservative modern entrees into the field of film have been total artistic and popular bombs.

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Filmmaker Michael Pack

When a conservative film gets made that is actually high quality, it’s a surprise. So when I saw new documentary, The Last 600 Meters, I was shocked. It’s gripping, engrossing, enthralling. It’s a movie every American should see.

The Last 600 Meters tells the story of the two deadliest battles of the Iraq war — the Battles of Fallujah and Najaf — from the perspective of the soldiers who fought in them. We see through their eyes – the footage and stills were taken during the actual battle. We meet the strong, resilient, sensitive and brave men and women of the armed services who do the fighting and the killing and the dying that we won’t do.

The images are stunning.

We watch a firefight in a magnificently archaic and overbuilt cemetery outside Najaf. We learn about a terrorist-created deathtrap known as the “Hell House” in Fallujah, where our troops demonstrated their heroism and creative thinking while taking heavy casualties. We observe as our troops invade the house of Shia Islamic leader Muqtada al Sadr – and find, in his bedroom, framed photographs of American tough-guy action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Clint Eastwood. We follow our troops as they go house to house finding huge weapons caches and terrorists. And yes, there is an actual scene with American soldiers walking through the smoking ruins of Fallujah while singing the Mickey Mouse Club song, a la Full Metal Jacket.

What’s just as stunning is the take from ground level on the geopolitical decisions being made by politicians at the highest level

We’re one day from taking Fallujah in April 2004 when Al Jazeera begins hijacking CBS’s satellite feed from a Fallujah hospital, then adding their own spin – and the resulting media furor causes the Bush Administration to end the action. The result: terrorists from across the globe come to Fallujah to establish a base, and we have to re-enter a few months later to wipe them out.

In Najaf, our troops fight their way through city streets and converge around the central Imam Ali Mosque, where al Sadr and his terrorist followers are holed up. They meticulously avoid firing their weapons around the mosque. They train Iraqi special operations units to make the final entry into the mosque. And then, just as they’re about to finish off al Sadr and his men once and for all, al Sadr, in a deal brokered by the Iraqi government, turns over the keys to the mosque to Ayatollah Sistani, the highest ranking Shia figure in Iraq. And our troops pull out of Najaf, handing the city back over to the insurgents.

If this film has any political content, it’s a pro-troops content. Yes, our troops are pro-war – one of the officers makes an impassioned speech about the value of fighting terrorism and spreading liberty in Iraq. But the film is just as critical of the top-down decision making that led the coalition forces to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over and over again.

What comes across throughout The Last 600 Meters is the incredible value of the men and women of our armed services. They know that their job isn’t to make the political decisions – it’s to implement them. They’re there to take those policies “the last 600 meters.” And they get the job done, no matter what the obstacles.

I spoke with Michael Pack, producer of the film. It will be shown on PBS in a few months, but he is looking for a distributor to get it shown as a mainstream feature. If ever a conservative film deserved that sort of support, this is the one. It is a tremendous demonstration of the fact that conservative films can be more than just conservative – they can be truly great.

[An interview with filmmaker Michael Pack and producer Stephen K. Bannon can be seen here: Part 2Part 3.]


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