Bulletproof Salesman | Chicago Reader

Bulletproof Salesman

Documentary maker Michael Tucker made numerous trips to Iraq shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and the footage he collected has generated two strong documentaries, codirected by Petra Epperlein: Gunner Palace (2004) and The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (2006). With this third effort Tucker and Epperlein seem pretty close to exhausting their cache of footage, though the resulting story isn’t without interest. The video profiles Fidelis Cloer, a German salesman of bulletproof vehicles who does a brisk business in Baghdad (and, in footage shot several years later, Kabul). Equipped with Kevlar-strength sense of irony, Cloer obliges the video makers with such callous remarks as "Security is a commodity" and "People have to die in order to improve the product." On the other hand, his merchandise saves lives rather than taking them, which undercuts the implicit accusation that he's a profiteer and confines the directors to the relatively banal observation that war is big business.

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