Full Battle Rattle is a revelatory look at the soul of the American war machine, and a potent allegory of America's military misadventures in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
In California's Mojave Desert, the US Army has built a billion dollar urban warfare simulation - a village they call Medina Wasl, populated with Iraqi exiles, all playing pre-assigned roles ranging from mayor to grocer to doctor to mother. An Army Battalion has been given the mission to quell an insurgency and prevent Medina Wasl from slipping into civil war. Covering both sides of the conflict as the mood in the village shifts from friendly banter to violent clashes, the film follows the Army Colonel who commands the Battalion, the Iraqis who play civilians on the battlefield, and the American soldiers cast as insurgents.
From the moment they begin playing their roles, the stakes are high and the emotions at fever pitch. As reality and fantasy overlap, Full Battle Rattle moves from comic to surreal to disturbing - revealing the challenges and perhaps futility of "liberating" people half a world away.
“One of the most complete pictures yet to emerge of how an Iraqi town fragments into civil war.”
- Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"Proves not only that truth is stranger than fiction, but that the two are sometimes impossible to tell apart."
- Utne Reader