The drunk knuckleheads and bleached-blond harpies who slur, strip and stumble around in Josh Fox’s deceptive drama might be typical college seniors engaging in the usual Friday-night mating rituals. The camera flits quickly around a motel room where everyone uses party as a verb; if you blink, you might even miss the guy with the hood over his head sitting against the wall. These belligerent all-American a-holes are actually soldiers. Quicker than you can say Seymour Hersh, viewers are treated to a litany of Abu Ghraib’s greatest hits: barking attack dogs, sexual humiliation from female MPs, and human pyramids accompanied by the flashes of digital cameras.
For Fox to draw a parallel between a fratboy mentality and the mind-set that underwrote such behavior is astute; the filmmaker’s crude attempt to examine this low point in America’s military history, however, simply belabors this notion past the point of obviousness. As in the similarly reductive Redacted, the use of faux-mentary footage is fetishized to death and the insight is minimal. Rather than backing up the old chestnut about the banality of evil, Memorial Day does nothing but remind us that cinematic repetition inevitably robs immorality of its impact.