The White Helmets: Rescuers of Syria

Hello everybody! Back with yet ANOTHER Netflix original, this time on the documentary side of things. Let’s check out what The White Helmets have to offer.

THE WHITE HELMETS

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DIRECTED BY: Orlando von Einsiedel

STARRING: Khaled Farah, Mohammed Farah, Abu Omar

GENRE: Documentary

YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY: United States, Syria

slider-01-36af9cb002e262e1cfa894d8be67db7eAfter five years of war, over 400,000 syrians have been killed and millions have fled their homes. In areas out of regime control, those who remain rely on a group of volunteers dedicated to saving anyone in need. They search for survivors among the wreckage as bombs continue to fall.

Courtesy of Audiences Everywhere:

“There isn’t much more than observation and interviews, the most basic documentary approach of all. And at just a (still heart-wrenching) 40 minutes, there isn’t even much of that. Largely, this is because the exceptionality in this story, both the inspiring and the disheartening, needn’t be gazed upon too long to be understood. The White Helmets, a titular volunteer civilian organization whose purpose is to rescue survivors for the ruins of buildings that have just been bombed by airstrike in Aleppo City in war-torn Syria, is not  comprised of paid or traditionally trained rescue workers. They are former blacksmiths, builders, tailors whose world has been ruined beyond a need for their trades. slider-03-018c00317cf5b76c583d29537e0a4023Since 2011, the reality in which they live is one recognizable from the Western, American perspective as a hellscape. It’s not just the rubble, the blood, or the bodies. Von Einsiedel establishes shots of the men looking into clear blue skies anticipating attack. We see families of victims using social media to learn of the deaths of their loved ones. We see a child recognize the lifeless body of his father and a newborn pulled from rubble after 18 hours of being trapped.

 

The White Helmets is not an apolitical film, even as its opening and closing title cards carefully avoid mentioning any governing or sovereign body involved in the conflict that inflicts damage upon the citizens of Aleppo. There is no approaching this subject, cinematically or conversationally, in a way that avoids politics. In the chaos of explosions, enough is said in reaction to paint a picture, to suggest allegiance or to appeal to political sympathy.”

PROS:

  • Plenty of Pathos.
  • Solid performances.
  • Decent direction.
  • Brings to life a touchy subject.

CONS:

  • Short run time.
  • Poor English translation

SCORE: 7.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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