Three Kings

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(1999) ★★★★

Sky Movies Select: Sunday 15 November, 10.15pm

Maverick major George Clooney takes sergeants Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube on a hunt for stolen Kuwaiti gold at the chaotic close of the Gulf War. Millions in bullion is rumoured to be hidden in Sadam Hussein’s Iraqi desert bunkers, guarded by soldiers more concerned about keeping the peace than with ill-gotten war gains. The sneaky get-rich-quick plan goes pear-shaped, of course, as real life blows up in their greedy faces. Coruscating action caper from Spanking the Monkey man David O.

Russell, whose quick-witted script delivers sledgehammer blows to the notion of America as some kind of imperial police force. Almost too late, the true horrors of modern warfare and the corrosive nature of oppression is indelibly marked on the slow-dawning consciousness of this sand-dune Wild Bunch.

It’s an unusually intelligent, highly critical stance for a big-budget action movie to adopt, and the talented cast seems perfectly attuned to the director’s intentions (although after clashing with Russell on set Clooney later called it “Without exception, the worst experience of my life”). There are no easy plays for sympathy or levity in a film that must have been loathed in the White House. The soldiers’ dopy companion, by the way, is Spike Jonze, better known now as the director of Being John Malkovich and Her.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 111min

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Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Action/Adventure Thursday, 19 November at 4:00PM