Gunner Palace

Rated 4.0 “We are fighting more than just to free Iraq,” one American soldier in Baghdad reminds us in this cautionary, exasperating, profane and heartbreaking documentary. “We are fighting to stay alive.” Filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein take us deep into the heart of war—as well as day-to-day routines, danger, attitudes and the responses of young U.S. warriors—in a fractured, rambling but nonetheless riveting chronicle of a country under siege. Tucker lived for two months with the 2-3 Field Artillery known as “the Gunners,” who used the bombed-out pleasure palace of Uday Hussein as the base for their military operations. Tucker’s surreal, intimate chronicle of several soldiers who split their time among Uday’s swimming pool and putting greens, nighttime raids of suspected terrorist homes, and daytime patrols shows the different perception generated by observers embedded in formally sanctioned operations and those embedded in reality.