TV review: The Long Road Home, National Geographic
- Henry Northmore
- 3 November 2017
Bullets and blood fly in this true story set during Iraq 2004
There's a definite trend for military dramas on US TV this season. New series include The Brave, SEAL Team and Valor. It's hard not see them as a reflection of modern America and Trump's brand of ultra-patriotism. Feeding the voters and viewers who wanted to make America great again. National Geographic have gone for a more realistic approach with their eight-part Long Road Home.
Based on true events, and ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz's best-selling book, The Long Road Home covers April 4, 2004, when a US patrol came under fire in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq. A surprise ambush that left several dead and others fighting for their lives and was later dubbed 'Black Sunday.' Each episode takes the viewpoint of a different soldier as we see events from several perspectives. This is intercut with life back home as their wives and families (including Kate Bosworth and Sarah Wayne Callies) wait for news.
The scenes on American soil sometimes drift into shameless sentimentality but The Long Road Home is pretty effective once the shooting starts. It's a mess of bullets and blood, a complex confusing skirmish. Back at Camp War Eagle Lieutenant Colonel Gary Volesky (House of Cards' Michael Kelly) attempts to run the rescue mission and bring his men home.
Long Road Home probably plays better on home soil, it's an interesting and often intense story, intermittently capturing the futility and constant fear of war. Whatever your feelings about the morality of the conflict itself, it is still possible to appreciate the bravery of the individual men involved. For the boots on the ground politics are irrelevant. It's a shame The Long Road Home can't resist occasionally lapsing into flag waving jingoism and just let their actions speak for themselves.
Long Road Home starts on National Geographic on Tue 7 Nov at 9pm.