City of Ghosts - Movie Review Essay Example

Published: 2022-09-08
City of Ghosts - Movie Review Essay Example
Type of paper:  Movie review
Categories:  War Movie
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1225 words
11 min read

'City of the Ghosts' is a documentary that shows how people were slaughtered in Raqqa and the impact it would have on a person of lesser mettle. Mathew Heinemann the narrator, portraits all the dangerous places that became keen eyes to the journalists. The streets Mathew was laundering were full of horror because of various shootings, crucifixions and beheading due to the ISIS brand and that's why it was called 'The City of Ghost,' (Daly 78). The exposure of the film is driven by how the zealotry went salvage so that it would differentiate it from the violent Aleppo. The analysis of the essay will elaborate on Matthew Heinemann techniques during the creation of 'The city of Ghost.'

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Background of the author

Matthew Heinemann a journalist and the author of 'The City of Ghosts,' received his 18th certificate because of the Raqqa website he created and how it silently showed the horrors faced by brave women and men witnesses every day. Political activism was not only the reason for the isolation of the Syrian City but an Arab spring that ousted the force of the government resulting power vacuum as experienced in Syria (Daly 80). The city also had men known as the liberators (a group of activists) who were determined to tell the truth to the world on how Isis controlled Syria. The documentary does not also spare the audience from violence and why it is necessary to watch the video. Executions such as bodies being displayed and decapitated are shown to warn about the Raqqa people to the rest of the world.

The purpose of this film not only does it show issues pertaining violence, but also the effect of the central characters shown in the documentary, tallying every new death, how people were forced into exile and how they were tortured. For instance, when Abdul-Aziz Alhamza (the spokesman) came through a cache of pictures from the people he loved, he began to shake uncontrollably to the point that his body showed signs of traumatic stress (Daly 85). In other words, the ghosts in the city were haunting him. To boost this documentary, Heinemann appealed his brand as the most awarded director of 2015 because he concentrated on the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Similar to other journalists, Heinemann evolved from carefree children to reporters that always risked themselves to death so that the world could know the truth about Raqqa. This group that existed in Syria also named as (RBS) Raqqa being slaughtered silently lived since the year 2014 (Daly 78). There activities and location are what led Heinemann and the group of journalist to get the truth concerning why they such activities. The journalists used their self-equipment to track Raqqa's transformation and how they where they lived in an isolated place. Heinemann does this by distilling video imagery and cell phones from RBBS into a college of fear and atrocities.

For instance, the RBS members were relatives and members that stayed behind after the disappearance of the RBSS journalists. Some of the killings that took place in Syria were filmed by the ISIS and later escalated and transmitted abroad through the media war. The RBSS activists also showed how ISIS got into power after Syria's Arab Spring demonstrations (Daly 89). The film also explained how the death of RBSS was captured. Those that survived were driven out of Syria and taken across Turkey then later haunted down and killed. The documentary released by Heinemann also captured the helplessness and isolated feeling by the Syrian refugees and how RBSS murdered them mercilessly.

Heinemann also used the sequence form the Skype calls that came to from the bare apartment and how they lacked combustion mainly from the Raqqa streets. That is why the scenes bookending the documentary for the society aims to protect the journalists (who are well-groomed Americans) from the RBBS (Daly 96). Since the film has a lot of real drama, it interludes the unnecessary information. However, Heinemann makes sure that RBBS is known by tracking the computer signals form ISIS and dismantling every unofficial satellite dish that existed in Raqqa. The images displayed by Heinemann showed how small children were trained to be killers and soldiers of the ISIS camp also revealed how the generation of the butchers is conscripted.

In the documentary, Heinemann scrutinized how ISIS was a media force that produced Jihadists films when the RBSS shrunk under persecution. This made ISIS target both themselves and Germany. Throughout the documentary, it is seen how ISIS took over Syria and how the RBSS leaders were forced to sit and observe how their loved ones and neighbors were slaughtered and left as a deterrent to other existing rebels (Beller 86). The documentary also shows how children were holding buckets waiting to be served soup in front of other women and men who were mounted into crucifixion positions on the streets to pose out a public warning. The most appealing thing about that part of the video is that the kids don't even look away but watch how their families suffer.

Even if they had other options to do something, the footage showed how evil the world was and how RBSS was always on the lookout. This became hard for the journalist to sneak any information but after they came together, they managed to document the ongoing horrors in ISIS. 'The city of Ghost' documentary showed how the mission arranged by the journalists was more than just collecting information (Beller 88). In other words, the film upheld vital information of RBSS mission, the unsettling truths how ISIS began their own media war and how their recruitment process.

Nevertheless, there are propaganda videos that were taken and edited with the aesthetics of Hollywood films, where the brutal fundamentalism was not included. The film is, however, marketed daily as a grand ideal that consists of the latest technologies (Beller 100). A good example is how the journalists were applied from their actions and how the RBSS lacked courage thus making the European countries not to get the grim truth about the documentary. The film also shows the power of the media and how the truth is revealed to the world even under death sentences (Beller 108). The film also alerts everyone on how they should keep an eye on Raqqa by limiting their influence of power


The City of Ghosts is a film that accounts of a Syria that is only seen through images and videos taken by the journalists. While RBSS had spent several years capturing the activities taking place perpetrated by ISIS, the documentary released by Heinemann revealed the backstories and faces of those that shelled-out buildings. The film also shows the gestures of empathy shown in the extreme political division and why RBSS were important. The documentary is far less how daily abuses continue to develop in many places due to the severity of politics. During that cultural period, for instance, the documentary showed how the journalists were under attack and how the public displayed unrelated news, which never matched with the predetermined truth to the world.

Works Cited

Beller, Mara. "4. Ghosts in the City." Modern Ghost Melodramas, 2017, pp. 95-110., doi: 10.1515/9789048529346-005.

Daly, Nicholas. "The Ghost Comes to Town: the Haunted City." The Demographic Imagination and the Nineteenth-Century City, pp. 77-106., doi:10.1017/cbo9781316155295.004.

IFCFilmsTube. YouTube, YouTube, 18 May 2017,

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