I just watched an Iraq war film called Home of the Brave. I had never heard about it before today when I saw it in the Movie Place.
It came out in 2006, and starred Samuel L. Jackson and 50 Cent.
I love Samuel L. Jackson, and I could go for an action movie (it turned out not to be an action movie, it was a drama- still entertaining).
Samuel L. Jackson plays a Surgeon. He returns home severely shaken by what he's seen as a Surgeon (think M*A*S*H). And the fact that his son is anti-war and pissed at his father just makes things much much worse.
Jessica Biel plays a driver who has her hand blown off in the movie's opening ambush. She spends the film learning how to live with a prosthetic, and trying to get her civilian life back on track as a PE teacher.
Brian Presley plays an infantryman. During the ambush he, 50 Cent, and Chad Micheal Murray go chasing after the insurgents. Brian gets hit in either the thigh or the arse and goes down. His wound doesn't really play much of a part in the movie, as he's up and standing over his best friend's (Murray) corpse within a minute of being wounded. He returns home to find that he no longer has his job, and has to work selling tickets at a local Cinema. He re-enlists at the end of the movie.
50 cent plays an infantryman. Chasing after insurgents, an Iraqi woman jumps out of nowhere and he shoots her by mistake. At the end of the chase he trips on a wall and destroys his lower back, putting him out of action right before Presley gets hit. The entire movie he is beating eaten by guilt for killing the Iraqi woman, plus mad at the army for not getting him his disability paperwork.
I was wondering why I had never heard of the movie before. When Rendacted, Sheep and Shepards (whatever Tom Cruise was in), etc... came out, they were in all the commercials, and various political blogs wouldn't shut up about them.
I soon found out why the political blogs didn't get in on it- the movie was not a political film.
Jessica Biel's character seemed understandably pissed at Army recruiters recruiting highschoolers (she played a PE teacher who had her hand blown off afterall).
Samuel L. Jackson's son is an anti-war high school kid who hates the army, and at one point starts spitting out the standard anti-war talking points in an attempt to explain to his father what Iraq is really like. His father shoots him down in the second of two political scenes.
The only other polical scene is when his son gets busted at the school for wearing a "Buck Fush" shirt to school and offending the far right administration (which is odd, because in MY highschool, the teachers were far left types... whatever)
Samuel L. Jackson lets loose and rips the principal to pieces, ending with, "you know what? Buck you!"
At the end of the movie, when the characters are finally recovering (except for 50 Cent) it takes on a bit of a pro-war tone as one Presley re-enlists and reads a letter to his parents describing why.
The lack of partisan politics was excellent.
The movie itself was actually quite well made, although after checking online I found my 'superior' professional Movie Critics had panned it for "simplistic dialogue," and for not being able to make up it's mind to be pro or anti-war (that's a bad thing how?)
Sadly, it was a box office flop, earning under $44,000 in the US (and probably nothing overseas, the US soldiers are the good guys afterall).
Unlike the critics I found the movie to be very emotionally involving at times, especially in Jackson's and Brian Presley's scenes, and was hard pressed to turn away until the movie was over.