In the land of the blind, the one-eyed sniper is king. This week’s headlines from Congressional oversight continue to bring more news of the misprisions of America’s overpriced mercenaries that enables an occupation of Iraq without a draft army, privatizing and making warfare for-profit, paying six times or more than the Army does our soldiers (who, if they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, other headlines note, it’s often cited as a “pre-existing condition” and a reason to deny benefits to the veteran). Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque’s “Shadow Company” is fine, terse, judicious journalism, tracking what the so-called “private contractors” really do and how governments use them to darker ends. As Canadian filmmakers, they’re not interested in the language being vanillaed into euphemistic silence. The serene equanimity of the depiction of the potential for chaos and law-breaking dovetails nicely with Charles Ferguson’s vital “No End in Sight.” Horrible things deserve apt journalistic scrutiny; agitprop is well and good, but the truth… “Shadow Company” shows shock and awful: this is what bought-and-paid-for pols buy and pay for with your tax dollars, from every wage you earn. (Plus, as the film points out, at least 250 mercenaries have died in this war, but conveniently, are not listed in the casualty rosters.) 86m. 35mm. (Ray Pride)
“Shadow Company” opens Friday at Siskel.