Plot-Nominated for Best Oscar at the Academy Awards this year. Filmed during the Summer of 2009, when the Afghanistan War was at its’ most violent point since the initial invasion. Directed by Danfung Dennis, who was a photo journalist with the New York Times and has contributed to Newsweek Magazine about the war on Afghanistan. This film is told thru the eyes of Nathan Harris. He shares his story about his time in combat and you get to watch how both him and his wife Ashley have to adjust to him being home.
Review-This film was a real eye opener. From the first seconds of the film to the haunting song at the end by Willie Nelson, this film grabs you by the throat and makes you pay attention. When you see these men and women putting their asses on the line for us, you almost feel responsible when they get hurt or killed. This film tells you from the get go, that most of the soldiers, who are fighting this war, have no understanding why this war exists. Danfung makes that clearly known that these guys are being told ” to know why you are fighting, is above your pay grade”. But, thank god dying is in their pay grade or being hurt or crippled. They make enough for that to happen, but not to know why they are putting Afghan families at risk, or killing people themselves. This film paints war in a very ugly light. Like it was a necessary evil, we had to go and fight this war. It also painted a worst light on soldiers coming home after their time is served. The scene with all these women, kids and men holding all these signs, crying, holding babies…standing their anxious for their loved one to come off that bus was heart wrenching to watch. You knew Nathan was hurt and others were killed and injured as well. The sad part is just waiting there with them, knowing that most of them will get the bad news or see it themselves. This film shows the adjustments Ashley had to make to take care of her wounded husband. From his addiction to pain pills, being handicapped, to his obsession with his gun, you just know the war changed Nathan for the rest of his life, and not for the good.
This film in the bonus features has a directors commentary, which I found offensive. If Danfur and his female assistant are dead set on making a statement film, why do you water it down when you discuss it. They tell us how the White House supported our men and women in battle. Well, I want to speak on this topic. If this so called ” White House” supports the war so much, why not send their own loved ones to fight it as well? The answer is in this film, because not one person knows why we waged a war that ultimately put this country in the worst recession in history. The real enemy are the ones who sent ” us the people” into a war only to profit for themselves, and not tell people where the funding was coming from, that it would be ” us the people” who would be paying for this war, that we all are still wondering, did we truly lose this battle? Oh, and do not worry..the ” we the people” are at home right now, counting all those millions made off a war that put this country in such a financial ruin. This film is all about what ” war” these soldiers bring home to their families, and how hard it is for them to adjust to normality and what cost they paid to be civilians again.
In closing, I also came from a military family. My dad was a POW in World War 2. He was in a German prison for 4 years, till he finally got to come home and I was born 21 years later, and my dad still had the nightmares and the government never gave him one dime after he came home a hero with a bronze star and purple heart. This film for me was like re living the nightmare in someone else’s eyes that his mother, brother, and dad lived. In 2011, Snookie made 35 million dollars, and over 22 percent of military families lost their houses. It is funny to see Hollywood always praising our soldiers, but never going themselves or their loved ones. In this world it is so easy to talk, and make yourself look honorable, but it is truly a different story to do it like our soldiers do.
8 out of 10