Gunner Palace (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gunner Palace (2005)



Critic Consensus: A shapeless documentary, but shows what's it like for the soldiers on the ground.

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Shortly after President George W. Bush announced that "major combat operations have ended" in the war in Iraq, filmmaker Michael Tucker (a self-described "Army brat" whose father served in Vietnam) traveled to Baghdad, where he and his camera crew were embedded with the 2-3 Army Field Artillery unit, improbably based out of a bombed-out mansion which once belonged to Saddam Hussein and his son Uday. Tucker and his crew spent two months with the soldiers of the 2-3 FA (in September 2003 and February 2004), following the young men and women as they went about their daily rounds in a land where they were welcomed by some and targeted by others. Gunner Palace offers a sympathetic but objective portrait of the American fighters as they go on routine patrol, try to ferret out insurgents, help train Iraqi forces, keep an eye peeled for homemade explosives, police some of the local troublemakers, and for the most part simply try to get through their days without the loss of life and limb in the midst of what they sarcastically call "minor combat operations." Gunner Palace received its world premier at the 2004 Telluride Film Festival and became the first documentary about the war in Iraq to be shot and released while the war was still taking place.


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Critic Reviews for Gunner Palace

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (35)

Tucker takes it all in without taking a stand, though his sympathies -- expressed through voiceover narration -- clearly lie with the men and women in the field.

Full Review… | April 15, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

You certainly can't question Tucker's bravery, but you may occasionally feel the urge to ask him to be quiet.

April 7, 2005
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

While Gunner Palace has the immediacy of street rap, it is actually a throwback to the cinema verite style of pioneering documentarians D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles and Frederick Wiseman.

Full Review… | March 25, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

But they're very good at documenting the tedium of the place and the work, the banal dangers of an occupation where the enemy could be anyone.

March 25, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The film's strength -- and its weakness -- is in its you-are-there view of guys who are e-mailing their loved ones back home one minute and breaking down the doors of Iraqi homes the next, on the hunt for the enemy.

March 24, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Reminds you that the thousands of faceless, nameless troops in Iraq are still there after you switch off CNN.

March 18, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Gunner Palace

Gunner Palace is a riveting documentary about the Iraq War. Director Michael Tucker plunges us deep in the action and gives something we would not normally see. This is a raw and gritty documentary that shows us what war is really like. Gunner Palace plunges deep in the action, and it is a riveting documentary that will certainly appeal to viewers interested in warfare. Along with Restrepo, this is one of the best films on the subject of modern war. Everything you see is unique, intense and unforgettable. I thought that the material was riveting and exciting due to the fact that it's not something that we wouldn't normally see. Gunner Palace is a finely crafted picture that is among the finest documentaries in recent memory. This is a must see for viewers interested in the subject of the war in Iraq. This is unfiltered to show you exactly how it is, and a lot of it is shocking, but all very real. Gunner Palace is sure to appeal to war buffs, and if you're interested in war and military subjects, then give this one a shot. The film gives you a taste of what it's like, and it is entertaining from start to finish. You're on the edge of your seat from the first frame onwards as we see the men constantly in harm's way. This is a riveting film that is sure to make you think and appreciate what Military personal go through. If you're looking for a great documentary to watch, then Gunner Palace is the one for you. Films like this are great to watch because we get to see something that we'd never see due to the fact that many people nowadays are interested reality TV. However this is real, and for that reason it makes it that much more interesting.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Husband-and-wife directing team Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein simply set their cameras on the men who make up the army's 2/3 Field Artillery, known as the Gunner, and just watch and see. Their base of operations is Baghdad's Azimiya Palace, formerly occupied by Uday Hussein, son of Saddam. 'We dropped a bomb on it, now we party in it,' says one soldier. But for every time the soldier enjoy the pool in the palace, they must also contend with the raids they launch on dozens of Baghdad homes, seeking Improvised Explosive Devices and the ever-unseen enemy. All of this took place as President Bush declared major combat missions in Iraq over. Eight of the Gunners died during filming, which ended just a year before the film's release. Essential viewing.

Manny Casillas
Manny Casillas

hugely insightful and obviously realistic, but lacks the punch i expected .. these soldiers seem bored with their 'job' and that vibe leaks right off the screen and into the audience ..

Cheyne Legris
Cheyne Legris

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