The Russo brothers take on an intense but familiar war movie in Netflix’s Mosul. Loosely based on the 2016-17 Battle of Mosul, the film follows a rebel Iraqi SWAT team fighting to take back their city from ISIS. Matthew Michael Carnahan’s directorial debut is relentlessly brutal: violence and death loom around every corner with explosive special effects and endless tension as the men fight to free their beloved home. The film also surprisingly dodges caricatures in what could have easily been another stereotypical depiction of the “dangers of the Middle East.” Yet despite an immediately emotional premise, Mosul fails to personalize the majority of its characters. The closest we get is to the wide-eyed Kawa (Adam Bessa) who goes from new recruit to leader of the pack. However, by maintaining a peculiar narrative distance from the characters, Carnahan forgoes a chance to take the film from being just another well-shot action movie to an emotionally-gripping war drama.