Iraq in Fragments

Critics Consensus

A stylistically bold, humanist take on the difficulties of post-invasion Iraq.



Total Count: 65


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,212
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Movie Info

An opus in three parts, "Iraq In Fragments" offers a series of intimate, passionately-felt portraits: A fatherless 11-year-old is apprenticed to the domineering owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rally for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; a family of Kurdish farmers welcomes the US presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied.

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Critic Reviews for Iraq in Fragments

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (31)

  • The film is both gritty and lyrical, showing how tanks share the Baghdad streets with donkeys as well as the quiet beauty of the Kurdish countryside.

    Mar 8, 2007 | Rating: B
  • Because [director] Longley uses a technique that forgoes interviews and voiceover commentary in favour of observation and revealing juxtapositions, his movie puts you both in the chaos and just above it.

    Feb 24, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Stands up as a classic war documentary, in its unusual poetic form and by its extraordinary access to the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

    Feb 23, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Iraq in Fragments sometimes feels random, but it is a well-crafted, thoughtful study of the dueling divisiveness and hope that will define the region long after foreign troops leave.

    Feb 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • James Longley's devastating documentary Iraq in Fragments has neither narration nor obvious political ax to grind, but it manages to tell us something about Iraq that we aren't getting or can't get from standard news coverage.

    Feb 22, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
  • By turns tender and shocking, Iraq in Fragments strikes a rare balance between impromptu fluidity and feature-film narrative control, in the process resisting both partisanship and predigested points of view.

    Feb 17, 2007 | Rating: 5/6 | Full Review…

    Mark Holcomb

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Iraq in Fragments

  • Aug 11, 2010
    Early on in James Longley’s astonishingly breathtaking Iraq in Fragments, a man sitting in a rubble-strewn street is heard to utter “If it’s like this in the beginning-what will it be in the end?” Moments such as these, burned into the mind’s eye thanks to Longley’s vibrant photography, make this film more than memorable—it becomes eternal. The cinematography, editing, and music of Iraq in Fragments (all by the hand of Longley) help to make this whole package pure poetry. Shot over two years by American Langley, Iraq in Fragments is an opus offering a trio of separate passionate portraits: “Monhammed of Baghdad” follows a fatherless boy apprenticed to a domineering garage owner; “Sadr’s South” chronicles Sadr followers rallying for regional elections even while they still enforce Islamic law with violent force; “Kurdish Spring” tells the story of a Kurdish farming family welcoming the U.S. presence because it has offered them freedoms they never knew. Giving absorbing visage into the war-torn and not the actual war, this documentary unfolds these three engaging chapters that, taken together, form a prescient Greek Chorus giving voice to the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds alike. Just as in America, however, the voice is resounding, but rarely harmoniously unified. Though An Inconvenient Truth walked away with top honors at the Academy Awards, this accomplishment by no means bested Iraq in Fragments, which was also nominated. In a time dominated by many dire issues, some rise to the top of the public consciousness through politicking. Others stand on their own revelatory merits. Bottom line: A resounding voice that must be heard.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2010
    Not the view of the war that you generally get from newscasts, this documentary takes us into peoples' homes to find out how Iraq's inhabitants lead their day to day existence as political turmoil rages around them. I am surprised that people can remain calm in such circumstances.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2008
    I wasn't as impressed with this movie as I thought I would be. It pretty much just reinforces my belief that invading and occupying Iraq was one of the worst things we could do and that religion, ALL RELIGION, is crazy.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2007
    [font=Century Gothic]"Iraq in Fragments" is a revealing documentary in three parts about the three main peoples of Iraq - the Sunnis of Baghdad, the Shias of the South and the Kurds - chronicled from the perspective of the citizens, most memorably from 11 year old Mohammed in Baghdad. Each group reacts differently to the fall of Saddam Hussein and the American invasion. Baghdad seems ambivalent; the Shias having been repressed for decades now are rising in power and militancy while the Kurds rejoice simply in their new freedom. But they all unite in one wish - the end of the American occupation.(Some voice the opinion that the Americans invaded Iraq for oil.) Also seen are the reactions towards democracy and the revelation that it will not solve all of the country's problems. [/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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