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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Terrorism > War > Politics > Cult Of The Suicide Bomber (Documentary)

Cult Of The Suicide Bomber (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Documentary: B



I really enjoyed Syriana (reviewed in HD-DVD elsewhere on this site) and it is a film people still talk about, even when they do not get it.  Less difficult and crystal clear to the point of being chilling is the new documentary Cult Of The Suicide Bomber.  Robert Baer is the former CIA agent (now retired) George Clooney’s character in Syriana was loosely based on and through his vast, deep experience over in The Middle East to chart the rise of Islamo-Fascism and how we got to where we now are.


He starts with essentially the Iran Hostage Crisis, which we now more truthfully know as The Iran-Contra Affair, where arms were traded to a newly Islamo-Militant Iran for 444 U.S. captives who were not to be released until President Reagan was sworn in.  The Republicans though this would help erase the Nixon and Vietnam fiascoes, but it instead caused a whole new series of events that have brought us to the nightmare in The Middle East that has spread worldwide.  By legitimizing a crazy new Iranian regime, it emboldened them to go after the U.S., but they would have to wait for the fall of the U.S.S.R. about a dozen years later with U.S. and C.I.A. assistance in Afghanistan.  That conflict is now known as The Soviet Union’s Vietnam and along with the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, caused the Iron Curtain to fall and Reagan’s “Evil Empire” to crumble somewhat.  A non-democratic society remains, but the satellite countries have reclaimed themselves.


Even action films (Rambo III and the James Bond film The Living Daylights) of the day celebrated these Islamic rebels as allies against them, but that was wishful thinking and revisionist history even then, though more naïve in the case of the Bond film whose longtime project was The Cold War.  However, Iran and Iraq were being played against each other all the long and that kind of geopolitical arrangement was bound to collapse, but the heavy-handed U.S. invasion of Iraq ended this sooner than it probably should have.  Furthermore, without as much wealth and sponsored by Iran, terrorists groups began recruiting young men in particular in a new way.  Eventually, Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini revived a very old idea of dying for glory under Islamic extremism with the “sugarcandy mountain” promise of reaching “heaven” and being rewarded with some kind of “virgins” in what is one of the greatest con jobs of the last two centuries.


However, it has worked and recently extended to young children and even women, which is interesting since the religious extremists often advocates their oppression, mutilation and murder.  This has become the biggest such cult since Japanese Imperialism made the Kamikazes possible dying for Hirohito as part of being the chosen “people of the sun” and their “sun god” in a movement that went on for decades and extinguished the samurai.  Smart films as early as Brian De Palma’s 1978 thriller The Fury and several William Friedkin thrillers (Sorcerer from 1977, To Live & Die In L.A. from 1985 and Rules Of Engagement from 2000, for which reactionary critics said he was racist and exaggerating months before 9/11 proved them gravely wrong in a way they still hate) reflected this best, but the cult began when a 13-year-old died in the Iran-Iraq War.  Afterwards, 9/11 and foolish actions by the U.S. that arrogantly repeated many from the Vietnam fiasco only brought together the poly-centric Islamic radical groups in an increasingly monocentric alliance that grows in power and deadliness as you read this.


Even worse, other rebels in other countries totally unrelated in their own wars, civil and otherwise, have adopted the suicide tactics and in an even darker irony, Muslims are now turning on each other with the same means.  Now, the extremism that arose in the late 1970s has blossomed into bloody explosion after bloody explosion, day in and day out.  The dark truth is that this is the culture of death worship, no matter what religion or cause it hides behind.  The Kamikazes were eventually defeated, but Japan was a small island and Islam alone has a billion followers worldwide and growing, and though many of them are not being conned into such suicide bombings, there are still too many foolishly being tricked and lied to.  Like guerillas of the past, they have nothing to loose and everything to gain, not being cared about, caring about anything and having no future.  How we got there is the subject for some other documentaries.


Baer does a remarkable, stunning and vital job of documenting this rise piece by piece and how it has been so sadly successful that we now have copycat incidents worldwide.  The Japanese did not even achieve this.  At the end of the stunning 96 minutes, you realize this is just the beginning and the worst is yet to come.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a collage of various video and sometimes film footage that is often from analog formats and the result is mixed even at its most compelling.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some surrounds and is more balanced than expected.  There are no extras, but the impact of this work is amazing and one you should see ASAP!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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