Hot Docs 2015 Review: ‘War of Lies’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2015, Movies by - April 22, 2015

War of Lies

Special Presentation

It’s a tough question, do the ends justify the means?  War of Lies asks that question on the biggest scale of them all and the answers aren’t the easiest to hear.

When he escaped his native Iraq in 1999 and fled to Germany, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi  was just looking for a better life but could even he have known that his white lies would have led to the greatest military blunder of the 21st century, as his claims of being a chemical engineer spiralled out of control leading to the launch of the second Gulf War.  Director Matthias Bittner sits down with this man who has either lied his way into the creation of over a decade of bloodshed or the man that helped to end the reign of one of the more despicable world leaders that human history has ever seen.

While the filmmaker definitely has a certain political slant, War of Lies works pretty well as a political thriller.  Bittner runs through the events grilling him on every turn, and while it ultimately leads to nothing because these events are old news, Bittner does keep us guessing as we see our subject almost definitely remind us of what was need to get rid of Saddam Hussein and the costs on his country have been immeasurable versus the costs of war.  While he wears the guilt of what happens, he never backs away from the necessary evils that had to happen in order to displace an even worse evil.

Admittedly, War of Lies doesn’t bring that much new to the table but it brings up that ever salient issue of hindsight as we wonder if the results of his lie of misinformation were worth the prices that so many people had to pay.

War of Lies has three screenings during Hot Docs

Monday April 27th at 9:15PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Wednesday April 29th at 1PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Sunday May 3rd at 9:30PM at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.

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