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Beyond the Call of Duty: A TIFF Review of ‘Mosul’

September 10, 2019Ben MK

War films are something of a tradition in Hollywood cinema. But whether it's World War II, the Vietnam War or the War on Terror, they usually have one thing in common — being told from a distinctly North American viewpoint.

Enter Mosul, a war movie that brings viewers a perspective of the War on Terror as experienced by the only men who have fought ISIS (known as Daesh by the locals) for each and every single day of the war — the Nineveh SWAT team. With new recruit Kawa (Adam Bessa) in tow, the team, led by Major Jaseem (Suhail Dabbach), patrol the rubble-filled streets of Iraq's second largest city, fighting pockets of Daesh soldiers along the way. But with the numbers dwindling on both sides, the question remains — will they succeed in their mission?

Directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan and produced by Joe and Anthony Russo, what follows is a narratively sparse look at war from a refreshingly different point of view. That said, what Mosul lacks in story it more than makes up for with an eye for gritty detail an a firm commitment to authenticity.

Mosul makes its North American premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 41 min.

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