Originally released as being one of the first movies to tackle the complexity of the Iraq War, The Situation delivers as it attempts to show the problems through a myriad of viewpoints. Connie Nielsen plays the lead female role as a journalist who has obviously spent too much time in Iraq. There are a lot of different threads running throughout the movie as she investigates the deaths of a young Iraqi boy who is thrown off a bridge by American soldiers. Then the movie proceeds to connect the dots surrounding this horrible incident. Apparently, the boy is from a village ruled by a corrupt chief. One of his henchmen wants to marry the daughter of a man who is not only one of the few decent characters in the movie, but also Nielsen's informant, and he has also has attracted the attention of an American CIA operative convincingly played by Damian Lewis. The latter wants to work with the informant because he is probably the key to establishing stability in that particular area. Lewis's character is admirable. Besides being the boyfriend/lover of Nielsen, he is trying to improve the quality of life in Iraq (Thus winning the hearts and minds of the people.) by any means necessary, but is thwarted by the Army, the State Department, the Iraqis and his own staff.
Meanwhile Nielsen chases the story along with a photographer who is a Christian Iraqi and the son of a once prominent Iraqi. When Nielsen's informant/friend is murdered, she seeks revenge by doing "one more story." This leads her to eventually meet the head terrorist who is feared by the corrupt chief. Unfortunately, the meeting sets of a chain reaction that leads to more violence and mayhem. It is a complex story that never mentions issues between the Shiites and the Sunnis, but there is a mutual hatred towards the Kurds. As in most cases, there are good guys and bad guys on both sides, but everyone in some way has sold part of their soul. The actors playing the roles of the Iraqis are brilliant.
My two complaints with the movie deal with storyline and sound. For whatever reason, the writers create some pseudo relationship between Lewis and Nielsen's characters, but then the Nielsen becomes drawn to the young Iraqi photographer, who has loyalty issues of his own. Neither is necessary or has a happy ending. The sound problem lies in the fact that there is too much of it, and it is too loud. Throughout the movie you hear gunfire coupled with a heavy soundtrack. The result it drowns out the dialogue in crucial moments of the movie. It is my understanding the movie was done on the cheap, but any good sound editor could easily have remedied this. Granted the gunfire creates the constant tension that runs throughout the movie, and it makes one realize how draining life must be for anyone living in Iraq. It is also understandable why Connie Nielsen's character looks exhausted and burned out. When she lives Iraq in the end, you wonder how she managed to cope so long and why didn't she leave earlier. This is hard movie to watch, especially for Americans. It is impossible for The Situation to have a satisfying ending, but it is an important one because it does touch on the intricate cultural makeup of a country that is now at war with itself.