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Date TimeSeptember 20, 2019
VoiceThe new film from the Avengers: Endgame film-makers is set in Iraq and gives the main roles to Arab actors. But by failing to hire an Arab director, they have missed the opportunity to smash the established narrative
With Mosul, the Russo brothers fall prey to white saviour syndrome
When the Russo brothers announced that their first post-Avengers: Endgame endeavour would be an Arabic-language action thriller, I was intrigued. The directing duo have spent the last seven years helping to define the face of contemporary American heroism, so I wondered how they would tell a story where the heroes are an Arab SWAT team, the villains are Isis and the battleground is Iraq?
Hollywood has made plenty of movies focused on the post-9/11 Middle East, where the stories are centred on white heroes and Arabs are relegated to supporting roles that, more often that not, perpetuate negative stereotypes; The Hurt Locker, American Sniper, Lone Survivor and 12 Strong are a few examples of white saviour narratives. But Mosul, they said, was going to be different. Based on a 2017 New Yorker article, The Desperate Battle to Destroy Isis, it tells the true story of a renegade Iraqi SWAT team who, in 2014, took on Daesh in a bid to take their city back.

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