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Three Kings  

Major Archie Gates (George Clooney)
Sergeant Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg)
Chief Elgin (Ice Cube)
Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze)
Walter (Jamie Kennedy)
Directed by David O. Russell Written by John Ridley and David O. Russell
Rated R for graphic war violence, some sexuality, and language
Running Time: 125 minutes Distributed by Warner Bros.


Three Kings is a brilliant and stylish movie. The film takes place in the Iraqi Desert just after the Gulf War has ended. Sergeant Troy Barlow (Wahlberg) is a new father waiting to get home to see his baby boy, and Conrad (Jonze) is a soldier that mimics Troy to help his own ego. The two stumble across a map leading to gold that was stolen by Saddam Hussein. Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) translates the map to its location. Major Archie Gates then bursts in on the three soldiers' discovery. Gates suggests to them that the four together should retrieve the gold and split it four ways. All four soldiers take off to the near by location on a routine in and out mission for themselves. However, the soldiers witness some of the horrors of Saddam Hussein's evil wrath and are left with a life threathing decision to make.

Three Kings is a sensational and well-made film. The film brings up a lot of controversy over the Gulf War and President George Bush. However, the film is also very warm and humorous at times.

David O. Russell direction of Three Kings is superb. Russell's previous credits include the two independent films, Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with Disaster. Russell takes a big leap with a war movie and a big budget that is estimated around 50 million dollars. Russell brings his incredible visionary talent to this excellent story. He uses unique fast cuts, slow motion angles, and some disturbing but effective internal direction. The film starts fast and tunes itself into an entertaining medium.

Russell also rewrote the script from John Ridley's original screenplay. The script is very sharp and forward. Russell challenges audiences by bringing in disturbing war effects and images along with a great deal of controversy. The most controversial action of the movie is the way the American soldiers react to the surrender of Saddam Hussein and the Gulf War itself. On top of these certain aspects, Russell blends in nice drama and comedic sequences that work well in the film.

The acting in Three Kings is excellent. George Clooney delivers a very well established performance as Gates. Gates is the hard nosed and cocky leader that is on the verge of retirement. Clooney presents this character with excellent stability. Clooney just keeps on doing nice work, he is on the tip of breaking through as one of Hollywood's top leading male actors. Mark Wahlberg also continues to nice work with his performance in Three Kings. Wahlberg is very strong as the desperate Sergeant Barlow. Wahlberg and Clooney can be seen teamed up together again in the upcoming summer film A Perfect Storm. The whole cast of Three Kings is really effective, but Clooney and Wahlberg dominantly lead the way.

Three Kings is a distinct and crazy movie that is very entertaining. It is a big-budget movie that is made very artistically, it reminded me a lot of Oliver Stone's type of direction, but it is more toned. Three Kings is a striking film about greed, courage, and heart.

Report Card Grade: B+

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