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Code Name: Geronimo

Code Name: Geronimo

By Patrick Samuel • January 30th, 2014
Static Mass Rating: 2/5
Studio Canal

Release date: December 24th, 2012
Running time: 101 minutes

Director: John Stockwell
Writers: Kendall Lampkin

Cast: Cam Gigandet, Freddy Rodriguez, Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Robert Knepper, William Fichtner

Code Name: Geronimo

Two days after the September 11th attacks in America in 2001, President George W. Bush told the world “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our No. 1 priority and we will not rest until we find him.”

It would be decade before the mission to locate the man who was #1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted listed would be accomplished, just a few months short of the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Yet the events surrounding his death on May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan are sketchy at best, muddled by conflicting reports and the to-be-expected propaganda.

Code Name: Geronimo – The Hunt For Osama Bin Laden (aka Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden is a film which takes us back to 2011 to tell the story of how a group of Navy SEALs come to learn that the identity of their target is none other than bin Laden, but rather than explore America’s victory in depth from an objective point of view, as well as the cost of war on all sides, what we see is more propaganda.

Beginning with a tip-off from a Guantanamo Bay detention camp detainee, the CIA realise that what they might have is valuable intelligence regarding the possible location of bin Laden’s secret hideout. They try to verify the information using spies on the ground and once they’re convinced that the information is sound then a team is recruited for intensive training before being sent on their mission.

Among them is Stunner (Cam Gigandet) who has a wife and two kids back at home, but he’s far from being a happy husband. There’s also Cherry (Anson Mount), Trench (Freddy Rodríguez) and Mul (Xzibit), the womanisers of the team who swap stories about their conquests and share their photographic evidence with each other. All they’re hoping for is to get payback for one of their comrades who was killed a suicide bomber earlier on in the film.

Code Name: Geronimo

What we then see resembles a lot of video games where players pretend to be soldiers fighting the War on Terror. During their training we see doors flung open followed by quick bursts of gunfire by members of the team who are unable to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. Afterwards we see the men playing video games, re-enacting scenes similar to what we just saw. It’s as if they’re become desensitised by the violence, turning their minds off to it while at the same time they’re portrayed as men who miss their mothers, wives and children back home. They’re all thankful for them doing this job and keeping America safe and freedom upheld.

The story, if we can call it that, is very one-sided. It’s only concerned with one thing; showing how intelligence is gathered and used. We never get a look at the lives of the people living on the other side of the fence. It’s never asked how the War on Terror affects them, only how it affects American interests overseas. As a result I felt Code Name: Geronimo wasn’t telling me very much, but then I realised that as a propaganda tool it was telling me a lot.

Performance-wise, the extraordinarily handsome Cam Gigandet doesn’t have a lot to do here. The role is no stretch of his abilities and I’ve yet to see him play a part that he can really sink his teeth into rather than relying on his good-looks. As for the other Code Name: Geronimocharacters, they seem more like cardboard cut-outs rather than real people. The dialogue itself is dreary, often drowned out by musical score which makes the film sound like a video game.

Culminating with the night-time raid on bin Laden’s compound Code Name: Geronimo is only too willing to re-hash the story we’ve been told time and again – but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. There are quite some things I couldn’t believe, beginning with the Guantanamo Bay prisoner who gives up his information after a few idle threats…because torture is only carried out by Arab countries, so we’re told. We never gain a larger perspective here, it never looks at the bigger picture and we’re not meant to ask why America’s Most Wanted, whose FBI poster has never mentioned the September 11th attacks, wasn’t taken alive for questioning or to face trial for his crimes.

I’m sure the real story of Code Name: Geronimo, like so many others, is yet to be told by those brave enough to do so.

Code Name: Geronimo

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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