Rated: R for strong violent content, language throughout, some sexuality, drug material and brief nudity. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: October 27, 2017 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
Adapted from David Finkel's 2013 non-fiction book and written and directed by Jason Hall, this is a powerful and sober look at Iraq war soldiers returning home.
A terrific cast headed by Miles Teller, who plays Sgt. Adam Schumann. The opening scene has he and his battalion riding in a Humvee that has been blown up on the streets of Baghdad. He grabs one of his men who had been shot in the head to get him under cover of a building, and while carrying him, he drops him on his head. The image is forever burned into his mind, even when he leaves the war and returns home to his wife (Haley Bennett) and young children.
Will Wall (Joe Cole) and Tausolo "Solo" Aiete (Neaulah Koale, in a super debut) also return to Kansas at the same time as their friend and leader Adam. Will is the most tightly wound and you can guess that of the three, he will have the toughest time surviving.
Solo and Adam appear to be unscathed by the war experience, but their scars are inside and they're in need of help. Unable to get a job, their relationship with their wives are strained and after years of battle, they just don't fit in. You see them hanging out together at bars and talking about things that unless a person had gone through the same, could never understand.
Solo has lost his memory and has to resort to writing names and directions on his hand and Adam relives the horror he knew, awake and in his dreams. The men realize they can't make a go of it by themselves. They go to the Veterans Affairs Administration to sign up for therapy, and even though the news has told of long lines and shabby care, its still difficult to watch.
The men take a number and patiently wait in a large room, along with terribly injured ex-soldiers. Some are amputees, others with sever maiming, but they wait for the help they so richly deserve.
When Adam and Solo are finally seen by a worker, they're told that they will be put on a waiting list for future therapy. We send these men and women to war in order to protect us, and then their country doesn't properly care for them when they return.
Adam and Solo appear to be ok, but their PTSD prevents them from having the life they left behind. It's an injury that is a horrific result of war and we owe it to our soldiers to take care of them. This film is one of the best of its kind, it shines a spotlight on the problem and hopefully things will quickly change for the better.
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