|Starring:||Yigal Naor, Monica Dolan, Nonso Anozie, Omar Berdouni, Stephen Graham, Lubna Azabal, Warren Brown, Warren Brown, James Nesbitt|
|Studio:||2 ENTERTAIN VIDEO|
|Run time:||2 hours 58 minutes|
|Rental release:||22 Jun 2009|
|Hearing impaired subtitles:||English|
Most helpful review
Outstanding performances in an intelligent examination of the aftermath of the war in Iraq.By Northernsky (318 reviews) from Halifax , 25 Jun 2009
[Highly rated reviewer]It was only a matter of time before the Invasion of Iraq was mined by British TV as the basis for a drama. The worry being that something of that ilk would be inaccurate and exploitative. Thankfully Occupation, shown on BBC1 over three consecutive nights , is well written and powerful , showing that the invasion was not all about TV pyrotechnics and dodgy dossiers but about real people doing unforgiving jobs in extreme circumstances.
The narrative follows the vice like grip the country takes on three British soldiers after a tour of duty in Basra( It was shot in Morocco) following the initial allied invasion in 2003 . Mike ( James Nesbitt ) meets and falls in love with an Iraqi doctor-Aliyah (Lubna Azabal)- which would be fine if he was single but he is a married man with two children. Danny ( Stephen Graham ) is a pill popping alcohol swilling jack the lad. Iraq to him offers the chance to make money in cahoots with urbane American .Security work guarding potential developers of post-war Iraq leads to them bidding for construction work of new hospitals . Hibbs ( Warren Brown )genuinely wants to help the Iraqi people make a better life for themselves and feels driven to return to the country by altruism and his nagging conscience.
The Iraqi conflict is shown to be devastating on numerous levels. As well as tearing Iraq apart ,economically , structurally and in societal terms the different agendas rends the three men apart psychologically with Mike especially paying a heavy price. At the end of the drama the three men clad in funeral suits sat staring with looks of almost abject shock seem to be a metaphor for the way the war tore the Iraq people into factions.
Peter Bowkers drama highlights how Iraq became a cash cow for voracious Western businessmen .Indeed this was the hook for the drama that drove him to write it in the first place Whether providing security( for that see mercenaries) or re-building the infrastructure( only for it to be blown up again ) Iraq is shown to be awash with dollars .although none of it is going to help the indigenous people of the country. This is disaster capitalism ( see Naomi Kleins book ) at its most insidious and rapacious .
Although the script relies on a couple of contrivances -the romance between Mike and Aliya while beautifully done feels out of place and Mikes son joining the Army seems tacked on to bring the big emotional finale - it draws the parallel experiences of the three men together well. The choice of music jars occasionally as well though I did nod appreciatively at the use of Pink Floyds The Gunners Dream ( from the brilliant final cit album ) for one scene.
What really elevates Occupation is the monumentally emotional clout of the production whole aided it must be vigorously said by some outstanding performances. Its rare to see something where all the cast absolutely nail their roles .James Nesbit is so good that I will have trouble accepting him as anyone other than the emotionally wrought Mike and Stephen Graham is a consummate mix of edgy and sympathetic as the complex and disturbed Danny while Warren Brown just bleeds pathos as the compassionate Hibbs. Mentions must go too to Nonso Anozie as Dannys business partner Lester and Monica Dolanas Mikes wife Nicky .Both give tremendous supporting performances. I also loved Lubna Azabal as Aliyah who gives a superb nuanced performance radiating intelligence and vulnerability not to mention a certain smouldering sexiness. Her performance , as well as James Nesbitts gives their fledgling romance real much needed integrity.
Occupation has an agenda but puts across the message with an intelligent character driven story rather than some hysterical piece of polemic. Anyone doubting Britains ability to produce high quality drama really should see this( Unforgiven shown earlier this year was excellent as well ) We just dont do it often enough .Occupation , though deserves to sit with the stunning Warriors as a war drama concentrating on the impact of a horrible conflict on the ordinary men who have to fight them .Praise does not come any higher than that.
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Strong performancesBy a customer from oxon , 11 May 20113 episodes each of 60 minutes and I was able to watch them back-2-back without losing interest at all. Superb acting and a high quality script will always make for a memorable drama and this doesn't disappoint. Recommended viewing, especially if you have an interest in the subject matter.
Occupation:Shock! Decent BBC DramaBy raptor1217 (202 reviews) from Wednesbury , 21 Feb 2010Occupation is a BBC drama, set that flips between the stories of three soldiers during and after the war in Iraq. One stays in the Army, while the other two leave. It follows the aftermath after a mission where a small girl is injured and James Nesbits character takes her through gunfire to a local Iraqi hospital. It mixes in the collapse of their lives after this with Iraq collapse. While one stays in the army, the other two become security workers in Iraq, showing how made and corrupt things were/are. Mixing in are the failure of the soldiers marriage and rise of the militias in Iraq. The performances are good in it, believable and at times moving. Despite being a BBC drama, there is no left-wing preaching in it. A rare BBC gem.
OccupationBy a customer from Newtownards , 09 Jan 2010Very good. Jimmy Nesbitt is good as are the rest of the cast, real, modern war, & the effects of soldiering on personal life also. Watch again kind of film!
not true to lifeBy trike (6 reviews) from Scunthorpe , 18 Dec 2009the acting was good but the bbc should have done a lot more on the facts.
ie: a 432 apc in the middle of basra?
3 medics doing an attack on a building to take out a sniper?
running through the middle of basra with a kid and 1 bloke to cover you?
a sgt driving a land rover in basra in the lead vehicle of a convoy?
if you like military stuff and want something true don't watch this.
Not what I expectedBy Mark Winter from Suffolk , 23 Sep 2009I was expecting lots of shooting, bombs, explosions, and action.
This film started exactly as expected, but quickly turned into more of a romance in the middle of Iraq.
The acting was amazing, with some big names.
I kept expecting that the film would get going at any moment, and that the action and excitment would begin. It didn't, but to be fair the film was good, and the plot was good. Just not what I was expecting.
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