I had to put it that way, because the movie seemed a little too made up to be real. First off let me offer a disclaimer: I haven’t read the book, but I have served in the military, and some of the scenes seem contrived. For instance, I can’t imagine that anyone out in the field, engaged in combat operations would be aiming a gun at an enemy combatant with one hand, and using the other hand to hold a phone and carry on a personal phone call. But on the other hand, the movie covers a lot of time in just a couple of hours, boot camp, special training, four combat tours along with a period of time after his discharge. I also know that when people are in situations as intense as some of the ones depicted in the film that their language is not always family friendly, and again I've been in the military, so profanity is not necessarily unexpected. Having said that, it seems that the f-bombs were excessive.
But beyond that, I enjoyed the film. It can be viewed in so many different ways, and on many different levels. It’s the story of a descent into hell, and the ladder back up; it’s a portrait of PTSD and how it affects individuals and families. It’s a reminder that war is hell. It’s a vivid reminder that sometimes being a hero isn't all it’s cracked up to be
For those who haven’t served in the military, the movie offers insight into what we asked of the men and women who put on the uniform, and beyond that, what we ask of their families during the times when a spouse or parent is deployed. And for some it shows why we honor our troops when they return from those difficult deployments.
As I watched the movie, I found myself wishing that it were just the imagination of somebody sitting at a computer, but the harsh reality is that the world is not a perfect place. We invite young men and women to serve their country; we offer then special training, and then send them off to faraway places where they are exposed to horrors that no human being should ever have to experience, but we don’t have the mechanisms in place to adequately care for them when they return home. Some of them are shattered physically, and we can offer physical therapy and artificial limbs, but how do we help those whose injuries are unseen, but often hurt much more deeply.
The movie is rated ‘R’ for profanity, and with good reason. If you can get past that, it’s a movie well worth watching.
My friends at Grace Hill Media have given me a copy of the Blue-Ray DVD as a giveaway for facebook friends/readers of my blog. Comment on the blog, or on my facebook page before May 24th, and be entered for a chance to win the DVD.