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Three kings - George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, David O Russell

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In a war without heroes they are kings.

Three kings is the story of a small group of adventurous American soldiers (George Clooney as Major Archie Gates, Mark Wahlberg as Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow, Ice Cube as Chief Elgin and Spike Jonze as Conrad Vig) in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War who are determined to steal a huge cache of gold reputed to be hidden somewhere near their desert base.

Persons of interest

  • George Clooney .... Major Archie Gates
  • Mark Wahlberg .... Sergeant Troy Barlow
  • Ice Cube .... Sergeant Chief Elgin
  • Spike Jonze .... Private Conrad Vig
  • Cliff Curtis .... Amir Abdullah
  • Nora Dunn .... Adriana Cruz
  • Jamie Kennedy .... PV2 Walter Wogaman
  • Saïd Taghmaoui .... Captain Said
  • Mykelti Williamson .... Colonel Horn
  • Holt McCallany .... Captain Doug Van Meter
  • Judy Greer .... Cathy Daitch
  • Christopher Lohr .... Teebaux
  • Jon Sklaroff .... Paco
  • Liz Stauber .... Debbie Barlow
  • David O Russell .... Screenwriter
  • David O Russell .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Three kings official movie site
  • Awards and film festivals:
  • DVD includes commentaries by director David O Russell and producers, production notes, Behind-the-scenes documentary under the bunker, tour of Iraqi village set, director video journal, Deleted scenes, interview with Director of Photography, intimate look inside the acting process with Ice Cube, special photography, theatrical trailer, DVD-ROM material
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The Gulf War, without interference from CNN or military censors.

Three kings is a pumping action adventure war/anti-war comedy about the stupidity of wars (whoops, tautology) and the stupidity of the people who run them. From the opening scene where grunts have to work out whether to keep shooting people or let them surrender ("Are we still shooting?" - what a great piece of dialogue) to the closing scene where officers are more concerned about following orders than saving civilians, this film rips shreds out of war (including but not exclusive to the Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, the USA Army, the war media, Saddam Hussein and George Bush).

Mark Wahlberg is great in this film. His character is human, humane, loving, hurting, bleeding, scarred and dying. It is the best performance he has ever given. Ice Cube is a black grunt. George Clooney is, well, George. Less George that his other works but still George. There is an essential Georgeness that he just hasn't managed to get rid of (probably because his publicist, agent and manager told him not to: it helps to sell the calendars).

David O Russell's screenplay is intense, capturing the utter boredom and total fear that is war. His direction is even better, mixing still shots with live action, normal development with bleach bypass, dolly shots with hand-held and pulling the most out of the actors that they can give. Once again, I congratulate Mark on his performance. The torture scene will have you squirming in your seat.

Three kings is the kind of publicity the USA Army worked so hard to avoid, coining those wonderful phrases like "Friendly Fire", and only allowing journalists to see specific parts of the war. It's also a really entertaining DVD. So see it.

Security censorship classification

R 18+ (Medium level violence)

Surveillance time

111 minutes (1:51 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: 4 December 2000

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