In 2004, writer/director Zachary Iscol fought as a US Marine in Al Anbar, Iraq's most violent province. There, the inevitable result of violence was always more violence, until the Marine Corps eventually learned the unforgiving paradox of counterinsurgency—that killing is how you make enemies, not defeat them, and that peace is predicated upon working with former enemies. Zach returns to the province, now considered a counterinsurgency model, to confront the awful dilemmas he faced fighting an enemy that hid among civilians.
Profoundly honest, The Western Front explores these dilemmas from all sides to reveal the harsh impact we had on our enemies, our allies, civilians, and our soldiers. Impressively shot on location in Iraq, first-timer Iscol fuses haunting personal war stories with larger issues and makes for an affecting behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of war from a soldier's perspective. As the film navigates a path to reconciliation, the impact of war is readily felt, and Iscol's search for answers resonates beyond the screen.