tary begins in the midst of an all-out battle, shown more convincingly than almost anything TrustMovies has seen on our current war in Iraq (trust him: he's seen most everything on film or video that's come our way). Except that -- spolier ahead -- this is not a real battle. Instead, it's taking place in the Mojave Desert, where the U.S. Army has built a "virtual" Iraq. And I do not mean some computerized war game but a real village featuring hundreds of flesh and blood Iraqi roleplayers, and a battalion of American soldiers sent here to learn what they can from this simu-
lation before they head off to the "real" place--for the "real" war.
though everything, from the Iraqis to the battles to the newscasts (both ours and Al Jazeera's) is fake, it begins to take on meaning, relevance and even feeling for both the soldiers and us viewers. This is a strange phenomenon: knowing something is pretense and yet being influenced by it, even so. (Wait a minute: Isn't that what we do every time watch any movie? Or it is only when we see a fiction film, rather than a documentary. More of this later).