Heavy Metal in Baghdad
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VICE Magazine co-founder Suroosh Alvi and VICE Films head Eddy Moretti embark on a gonzo journey to meet Iraq's only heavy metal band in a freewheeling documentary focusing on youth culture in war-torn Iraq. In the summer of 2005, shortly after Saddam Hussein's brutal rule came to an end, Iraqi heavy metal group Acrassicauda (named after an especially venomous breed of black scorpion) teamed with VICE Magazine to stage a sold out rock concert. Over a year later, VICE co-founder Alvi and filmmaker Moretti travel back to the Middle Eastern country to find out how the war has affected the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The guerrilla-movie-making ethic of the directors is reflected in the band members, who sport goatees and speak excellent, hipster/metalhead-inflected American English."
‑ Wally Hammond, Time Out
"More than just another Iraq-doc, Heavy Metal is a surprisingly up-close look at the toll of the war on young people, and how they still have dreams and still want to jam, party and get down."
‑ Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
"Doc on Baghdad's only heavy metal band provides fascinating insights into war-torn country."
‑ Don Groves, sbs.com.au
"And so this low-budget film says more about Gulf War II than all of Hollywood's efforts put together."
‑ , Sun Online
"Though they struggle to build a fan base, and end up seeking refuge in Syria, their dreams persist, still blazing fiercely at the close of this chastening and inspiring film."
‑ Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph
"The low-budget movie's technical qualities aren't always the best, but considering the conditions under which the filmmakers worked, it's amazing that Heavy Metal in Baghdad was made at all."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"An intrepid, unlikely and altogether splendid feat of D.I.Y. reportage."
‑ Nathan Lee, New York Times
"Gives us a rough idea of how bloody awful it is to be living in Baghdad."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Watching the disintegration of Baghdad alongside the band members' aspirations makes this an enlightening and impassioned account of the Middle Eastern crisis."
‑ Rob Daniel, Sky Movies
"This ill-starred four-piece are the heroes of a flawed, fascinating documentary, shot on digital video by two excitable gonzo-esque journalists from Vice magazine."
‑ Xan Brooks, Guardian
"The dangers these musicians experience every single day are bound to impact any audience. This is what it really looks like to bang your head against the wall."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"The movie reclaims metal's appeal to the powerless as well as its threat--when you can get shot for wearing a Slipknot T-shirt (talk about "Death, be not proud")... raising those devil horns isn't an empty act of aggression."
‑ Jim Ridley, Village Voice
"It feels like a spoof, yet this documentary, which follows the fortunes of a monumentally rubbish Iraqi band called Acrassicauda, is for real."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"Heavy Metal in Baghdad is one of those sneaky documentaries that starts out a light-hearted look at a semi-serious subject, and then suddenly turns into something far more moving and profound."
‑ Chris Tilly, IGN Movies UK
"You mourn the wasted opportunities to explore a culture in which the ultimate rebellion is to copy America's corporate rock."
‑ Wendy Ide, Times [UK]
More reviews for Heavy Metal in Baghdad on Rotten Tomatoes