Friday 13 April 2007

The Mark of Cain (2007) - ickleReview (TV)

Feature-length drama about British soldiers in Iraq. This programme was postponed by a week because it was feared it might endanger the sailors and Marines captured and detained in Iran. They were eventually released before this programme was due to air, but the schedules had already been changed.

I found it disappointing. Like Jarhead (2005) it looked very good but didn't deliver. It portrays the institutionalized bullying and thuggery that I already believed exists within the Army. It was too one-sided. Not even the chaplain or the doctor could offer solace.

It's inspired by true events: of prisoner abuse and the difficult task of policing Basra after the official end to the war in Iraq in 2003.

The main performances by the two privates, Mark (Gerard Kearns) and Shane (Matthew McNulty), are convincing and natural. The way they are torn between loyalty to their regiment and moral courage is well delineated. However, their superiors are too stereotypically made out as the bad guys. I'm sure the Army can't be that bad throughout; but if it is, they should not be given the task of policing: their sense of justice is too warped.

The one striking moment is the speech Corporal Gant (Shaun Dooley) makes to the pall-bearers before the repatriation ceremony, carrying empty coffins because the remains of the two dead soldiers, killed by an RPG, are so charred.

Nugget: it did not live up to the hype. It was nasty, yes, but not as powerful as expected.

1 comment:

  1. I disagree with your review.

    'One sided' hardly seems a fair verdict on The Mark Of Cain - I thought its portrayal of the struggle of troops was both honest and empathetic.

    I've written a review of The Mark of Cain on my blog - let me know what you think :)