Effective as a realistic military drama — and frightening in passages where soldiers in vulnerable positions are under fire from streets and rooftops — The Long Road Home has the added benefit of being based on the true, nonfiction book (by ABC’s Martha Raddatz) about a deadly ambush in Baghdad’s Sadr City district on April 4, 2004. The eight-hour drama matches the time the soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were under fire. And, as good military dramas do these days, the story is told from the perspective of the soldiers and their anxious families back in Fort Hood, Texas.
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Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and 65 wounded on “Black Sunday.” It started out as a banal mission escorting Iraqi sewage trucks and escalated to the point where two convoys of rescuers and the original task force were involved in raging gunfights in too-lightly-armored vehicles. Sadr City was supposedly the safest place in Iraq, and the war was considered basically over.
The production — on sets built in and around Fort Hood — is first rate with attention to detail in every frame. Notable performances are turned in by Jeremy Sisto as Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger, who headed to Iraq with strong premonitions that he would die there; Michael Kelly as Lt. Col. Gary Volesky, the incoming battalion commander who idealistically had believed “people are going to see amazing things from us” in their peacekeeping mission; and Jason Ritter as Capt. Troy Denomy, who led one of the rescue convoys. Kate Bosworth stands out as Gina Denomy, at home with a newborn, coping with her husband’s absence.
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