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Wick's Review

Created May 06, 2011 10:42PM PST • Edited Sep 11, 2018 03:10AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Three Kings succeeds magnificently as cockeyed caper movie, less so as metaphor for America’s abortive involvement in Iraq following the Persian Gulf War. The former unspools propulsively as George Clooney’s disgruntled commando leads a ragtag crew on a crazy hunt for Saddam Hussein’s gold. The increasingly involving goose chase makes for a wildly entertaining movie.

    The latter plays out as a case study in American self-loathing, a cock-and-bull story that slimes Operation Desert Storm as a hypocritical exercise in thievery. Yet David O. Russell’s movie does create a legitimate sense of shame that we stood by as Saddam slaughtered the Iraqi people after George Bush the Elder encouraged them to rise up. Geopolitical realism is a cold, cold thing.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    George Clooney’s classic star power anchors the movie. As Archie Gates, rakish Special Forces officer, he had his first unquestioned success as a moviestar.

    His partners in crime provide entertaining backup.

    • Mark Wahlberg as a good guy reservist who gets in over his head.
    • Ice Cube as a wizened NCO trying to cling to his morals.
    • Spike Jonze, known more as a director than an actor, as a dimwitted private.

    Cliff Curtis makes a strong impression as a grievously put-upon Iraqi, as does Saturday Night Live alum Nora Dunn as a jaded TV journalist.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Very Good 3.5

    Brilliantly filmed, cleverly constructed, cannily conceived: director David O. Russell made great hay out of John Ridley’s original story. Audacious in its day, classic now, flawed only by self-loathing, Three Kings deserves two crowns and a jester’s hat.

  9. Direction Great 4.0

    Russell peaked as a director with Three Kings, notwithstanding his more recent triumph with The Fighter.

  10. Play Very Good 3.5
  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.0

    Modern war violence is brutally messy. Plus there is an exploding cow.

  15. Sex Erotic 2.6

    George Clooney has heman sex with a TV corespondent. No, not Nora Dunn. As a moviestar, he don’t deign to do comediennes.

  16. Violence Brutal 3.4
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.0
  18. Glib 1.5

    Oh man, there’s a lot to say about this movie’s reality, just not now. Gotta publish.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.9
  20. Biological Glib 1.5
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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