1999 was the revival of American cinema. It marked a new age, a revolution spear-headed by the likes of Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and David O. Russell. It was also a revival for their masters like Martin Scorsese, Terrance Malick, and Michael Mann. This mix of young and old reminds one of the 60's and 70's, a time in film history that most consider being the acme of filmmaking. These two signposts of film history show filmmakers taking Hollywood films, and conventions, and turning them on their ear. David Russell, director of the brilliant Three Kings, was one of the most impressive to come out of this movement.
What made Three Kings so memorable was the way Russell took 60's/70's filmmaking sensibilities and turned them into a wry look at Gulf War 1. This film is essentially a slapstick social commentary mixed with a little "moral-of-the-story" type drama for good measure. And it's impressive that Russell, an infamously difficult director to work for, was able to pull off all the varying tones he asks of his actors, and visual motifs he and his crew attempt.
Russell's social commentary is right-on, too. His film opens with someone asking "are we shooting?" And as an Iraqi soldier waves a white flag a jumpy, trigger happy American soldier played by Mark Whalberg takes his head off. From the onset Russell is telling us how confusing, unorganized, and altogether boring that war was, and that people would do anything for some "action". Like a more action-packed version of Cacth-22, Russell's film takes a hilariously satirical look at the monotony of such a war.