Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by:John Ridley, David O. Russell
Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Jamie Kennedy, Mykelti Williamson, Nora Dunn
Released: January 13, 2000
Grade: A-

So what does attract us to war?  Is the human instinct in all us?  Is the atrocity it shows us?  Is it the comradery that unites us?  There has always been and will continue to be something about war films that takes us to the cinemas.

In 1998 alone, of the five Academy Award nominees for best picture, three were war films - Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line and Life Is Beautiful, and this year another hot contender can be added to the long line of war films being coming out of Hollywood - Three Kings.

We are introduced to our four US soldiers early in the piece (don’t ask me why it’s called Three Kings).  Sgt Troy Barlow (Wahlberg), Sgt Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), and Conrad Vig (Jonze) come across a secret map hidden in the ass of Iraqi solider.  The Gulf War has just ended - the U.S. Iraq have declared a ceasefire, and many of the soldiers are planning to return home.  When Captain Archie Gates (Clooney) finds the other three with the map - he wants in and has a plan.

Evading a U.S. Television reporter, they sneak out to find the location of a hidden bunker that supposedly contains millions of dollars worth of gold bullion.  They never expected it to be easy but what they came across and what it brought out of them, would change their lives forever.

David O. Russell (Spanking The Monkey and Flirting With Disaster) is a blossoming director who has really taken off with this picture.  The setting and story are captured so wonderfully with the radical fast-paced style.  George Clooney has comes leaps and bounds in recent years and follows Out Of Sight with his finest role to date.  Also singled out must be the fourth member of the team - Spike Jonze.  It’s hard not to focus on him in the film and think how this was the mastermind who directed Being John Malkovich.

This film has it all.  It starts off with plenty of laughs but by end you’ve taken a journey you didn’t expect to take.  From the wide-open deserts to the deep hidden bunkers, realism exudes.  Its intensity will keep you riveted to your seat as you await the fate of the four soldiers and you’re taken through their highs and lows. 

Already awarded best picture of the year by the Boston Society Of Film Critics and featured on top 10 lists all over the world, Three Kings is an immensely entertaining film that will keep you both thinking and feeling.