Worthy of Serious Viewers, May 4, 2010
Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster
I take with great seriousness some of the critical reviews, but on balance have to come down in favor of five stars and an enthusiastic recommendation of this movie and its actors. While I know little of current military casualty notification procedures, over-all this movie resonates with my own past as a Marine Corps infantry officer (40 years ago) and I found several things compelling:
1) America does not see enough of the down side of war. From 935 documented lies by the Bush-Cheney Administration to stark ignorance and corruption as the Obama-Biden Administration sells out to the military-intelligence-industrial pork complex, to the absolute and utterly immoral concealment from the public of the actual number of amputees including many many multiple amputees and the rising number of suicides, I find the disconnect between the public and reality to be catastrophic.
2) For me, these two characters are portrayed superbly, in detail. In my own life as a former spy we were obscenely proud of having the highest rates of alcoholism, adultery, divorce, and suicide in the US Government, and I have 19 professional suicides and 1 personal suicide in my life to date. The depth of the pain felt by those who survive was well-portrayed here.
3) The humanity of the protagonist and of the surviving widow, and the nuances of how that developed, were fully developed and expertly acted. This movie held my attention in detail for the duration.