FIGHT LIKE SOLDIERS DIE LIKE CHILDREN (Patrick Reed). 83 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (May 17). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
Nine years after the release of Shake Hands With The Devil, producer Peter Raymont and director Patrick Reed catch up with Roméo Dallaire on his current African mission, working with NGOs trying to rehabilitate former child soldiers who've experienced horrors beyond their years.
Now in their mid- to late teens, these survivors have to overcome their long-term indoctrination into paramilitary servitude and the traumatic memories of atrocities both witnessed and committed. And this can't help but trigger Dallaire's own memories of his time commanding the UN effort during the Rwandan genocide.
Dallaire is a charismatic and open subject, and the cause is certainly noble, but this is a fairly by-the-numbers documentary that does little to deepen our understanding of Dallaire or the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where most of the filming was done.
There's also the regrettable decision to illustrate the experiences of a composite child soldier in animated sequences that feel simultaneously naive and condescending.