While watching the movie Three Kings, I was engrossed with the action and plot. I enjoyed the suspense of the scene with the truck crashing and spilling milk all over the place. I felt sadness when Conrad Vig died. The movie did its job of evoking different emotions, but it isn't a true war story.
According to Tim O'Brien in The Things They Carried,"You can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil,' (69). True war stories do not have warm, fuzzy endings or morals to them. True war stories often end abruptly, leaving one feeling incomplete or unsatisfied at times. When Rat Kiley writes the letter to his deceased friend's sister and she does not reply, he doesn't go on a journey to try and find her only to find out she never received the letter, he calls her a cooze and leaves it at that. Many people can relate to un returned acts of kindness because it is true that there is evil in the world, everyone deals with it.
In Three Kings, the men, Archie Gates, Troy Barlow, Chief Elgin, and Conrad Vig, are first portrayed as the typical American stereotype, greedy, money-loving fools. Through trials and tribulations the men succeed in completing their mission of stealing back the Kuwait gold. The 'shocking' twist is when the men develop compassion for the civilians and decide to risk their positions to save the lives of the men and women. I can believe that people would risk their lives to save others. In fact, I am sure it is done often. In O'Brien's perspective even though Three Kings is slightly predictable, it is believable, which would make it an untrue war story. "In many cases a true war story cannot be believed. If you believe it, be skeptical," (71).
The movie has a happy, resolved ending. The men got the civilians safely to a refugee camp after almost not being able to because of their arrests. I think this makes it an untrue war story because it is cliché, believable, and is completely resolved.
In my opinion, a true war story does not have to be non-fiction, it has to feel real. The emotions that come with each story have to resonate in your mind and be able to be alike to other people's truths. War stories that are not true are not necessarily bad, The Three Kings was not a bad movie at all, but in O'Brien's eyes, it wouldn't be true as it is not true in mine.