A soldier’s Iraq story becomes a viral video

For those who can’t stomach another two-hour documentary about Iraq just now, PBS has the perfect solution: It has produced a four-minute animated version of former Army infantryman Colby Buzzell’s queasily gripping story of an ambush in Mosul. Directed by Richard Robbins, “Men in Black” could be an excerpt from Sin City, with its hard-boiled, sensitive-guy voice-over and staccato visual style. But the fact that this particular combat event actually happened — and that similar events are happening every day — makes the existential terror of the Iraq war immediate.

The “Men in Black” video is based on a blog entry that Buzzell posted during his Iraq tour — he later wrote a memoir published in 2005 by Putnam — and it originally appeared on the PBS show Operation Homecoming. If Hollywood decides to make Buzzell’s story, it would be wise to keep Justin Kirk (of Showtime’s Weeds) as narrator. His insightful, reflective voice commands your attention — and its weariness is emotionally wrenching.

Correction: The original VSL cited author Colby Buzzell as the narrator of the video. We regret the error.

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A soldier’s Iraq story becomes a viral video