Plot Summary: This potent drama focuses on three American soldiers who encounter tough challenges as they adjust to civilian life after a harrowing tour of duty in Iraq. But their physical and psychological wounds continue to take a toll on them.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, 50 Cent, Christina Ricci, Chad Michael Murray, Victoria Rowell, Mark Parrish
Director: Irwin Winkler
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) I deployed to Iraq as a Marine, and later specialized in Wounded Warrior issues. Additionally, many of my friends have suffered long-term effects from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, I knew I had to see this movie as soon as I read the description.
The film accurately depicts many of the struggles that Veterans face upon their return from deployment, or discharge. Jackson and Biel did an especially great job conveying their frustrations with non-verbal acting…often, it’s what a Veteran can’t say that is the worst burden of all. Jackson and Biel managed to wear these emotions appropriately and do Veterans justice, which is not an easy task. Jackson’s role was particularly important, as he illustrated that PTSD is immune to rank and MOS…while this is not even close to my favorite movie that he’s been in, it is one of his best performances. 50 Cent was pretty decent, as well, bouncing appropriately between rage and frustration, and passionately delivering script about Veterans’ demons like it was a hot verse from a new hit song.
Just as important as the Veterans in this movie were the civilians surrounding them upon their return. The film depicts a realistic gamut of interactions, from silly, potentially insulting questions to genuine concern, frustration, and communication barriers. Rowell stood out, ably playing one of the most-unsung heroes of the war, the military wife.
Beware, though: after an initial burst of action in the beginning, the pace slows down a great deal, and the movie’s focus turns more to character development and examining Veterans’ problems, rather than to plot development and resolution. Thus, this film has much more value as an insight into Wounded Warrior issues than as a good story with a well-defined plot. Additionally, I didn’t care much for Presley or Murray in their roles; their pixie-like features, tweezed eyebrows, and soft mannerisms were not the right fit for their blue-collar, combat-hardened roles, in my opinion. Maybe they should stick to shows like General Hospital and One Tree Hill…