MOSUL (2019, Netflix) is one of a string of fantastic war movies to hit the screen in recent years. In this film set in 2016, ISIS is losing control of Mosul, which they captured and laid waste in an orgy of looting, rape, and murder. As the ISIS forces flee, an Iraqi elite unit plunges deep into their territory. This is the Nineveh Province SWAT, bound on a mysterious mission.
The film was inspired by a real unit, which killed or captured so many ISIS fighters that ISIS would execute them on the spot if they were ever captured.
In the first scene, we see three police officers under siege by an ISIS unit. After they’re rescued, one, Kawa, is recruited to join the SWAT unit. His new comrades don’t trust him, and he has no idea where they’re going. They’re incredibly badass, which is revealed in how they fight rather than any artificial bravado from a ham-fisted script. They’re apparently on a rogue mission, that much is clear. And they’ll let nothing stop them and will kill anything that gets in their way.
I absolutely loved this film. The war-torn sets, the relentless tension, the intense action, Kawa’s organic growth to become SWAT himself, the realistic portrayal of the conflict, and the terrific emotional payoff at the end all make this a war movie to watch.