What Can Be Said About The Russo Brothers…

Wisdom from the past dictates to the future that when you see a fool behaving foolishly your wisest course of action is to get the hell out of their way.

Not only so that you don’t get tainted by the foolishness, but also so that any bystanders will be able to successfully tell the difference between you and the fool.

Marvel Secret Wars Russos
Never trust a man with a neck scarf. He’s a step away from a cravat.

With this ancient wisdom in mind, it is amazing to watch the Russo Brothers, who just pulled off an impossible artistic feat with the filming of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, totally throw away all that goodwill they develop with fanboys, in favor of getting the attention and accolades of the art, independent theater crowd who spit on Disney/MCU fans in general.

…That Can’t Be Said About the Rest of the Avengers Cast?

The rest of the Avengers cast is doing this move as well.

From Chris Evans to Mark Ruffalo, they are choosing artistic projects that reveal their independent streaks and their desire (and panic, quite frankly) to not be typecast for the remainder of their careers.

We wanna be “real” actors. And win Oscars. Or, at least be invited to the right parties at Telluride.

Into this panicky breach, the Russo Brothers have stepped to promote their next project, Mosul, an Arabic language film about an elite Iraqi SWAT team, fighting ISIS in Mosul, Iraq following our ignominious withdrawal from Iraq in 2014, from their production company AGBO.

Mosul joins a crowded field of films of the same name, exploring the same territory.

This follows their recent production choices of Cherry (an army medic becomes a serial bank robber) and 21 Bridges (Black Panther becomes a cop uncovering corruption in a formulaic way).

The summary, from the trades:

The first such project to release since the madness of Endgame’s launch will be Mosul, which makes its world premiere in Venice this week. Directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan, the film is based on a New Yorker article—aptly called “The Avengers of Mosul” when it appeared in print—about an elite Iraqi SWAT team who fought back against the rise of ISIS, with each of their number having faced loss or injury at the hands of the terrorist group.

Going All In On The Arabic-Speaking Demographic

I wish I got the sense that this was going to be something similar to Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields: a meditation on the evils of retreating after a war and abandoning the people left behind to whatever end they may come.

Instead, I think the Russo Brothers are going in the opposite direction: They’ve made a film that critiques American involvement in Iraq in the first place, by creating a story told all in Arabic, and designed to appeal to the Arabic filmgoing world.

Directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan (writer of World War Z and The Kingdom), the film is based on a New Yorker article (Yes, The New Yorker) that was brought to the attention of the Russo Brothers when they were filming Avengers in 2017.

This picture is a revenge movie.

One of the requirements to join the Iraqi-led police SWAT team, and to face off against ISIS, was that you (or your family) had to have been directly impacted or injured by ISIS or a related splinter group. 

This film has the potential to be really interesting and has elements that may make it palatable for American audiences.

But, as I referenced in a much longer Geek Dive, international audiences want their own hero and revenge myths fed to them, increasingly, in their own language.

Mosul is dropping — as you would imagine — at the Venice Film Festival tomorrow, September 4. But there’s no information about when this bad boy will distribute to you.

Because, unless you speak Arabic, you’re probably not going to get a chance to see it.