Dir: Irwin Winkler. US.2006. 107mins.
The first Hollywood film to directly address theemotional and political repercussions of the
Didactic and politicallyincoherent, its complex and emotionally risky scenariois the return of several disparate individuals to the
The script, afirst produced work by Mark Friedman, plays like a right-wing iteration of HalAshby's
In the streetviolence that follows maintenance driver Vanessa Price (Biel)loses her right hand; Jamal Atkins (Rapper 50 Cent, billed as Curtis Jackson)suffers a permanent back injury; army specialist Tommy (Presley) sees hisclosest friend felled in combat operations; and field surgeon Will (Jackson) ispsychologically damaged by the trauma.
The bulk of thenarrative that follows entwines the emotional experiences of the four survivorsas they go home to the
Each returns,warily and uncomfortably, to find it virtually impossible to assimilate intotheir current circumstances. The story circles and floats around their unravellingemotional experiences, marked by family tension, social break-up and coldlyinefficient Army bureaucracy.
Irwin Winkler hasan impressive track record as a producer, having made terrific films with John Boorman, Sydney Pollack, Bertrand Tavernier and, most significantly,Martin Scorsese. But he has shown himself as less adept at direction.
Home Of The Brave suffers from being constructed as an exhaustingharangue that sees characters yelling and screaming past one another, each convincedof their own moral rectitude and apparently intellectual valour.
The script isepisodic and discursive, and Winkler never establishes a viewpoint that yieldsany sense of discovery. The movie's tendency towards argument and confrontationsets up a series of unrestrained moments from a drunken Thanksgivingconfessional to a hostage crisis that become so irrational that it mutesauthenticity or emotional persuasion. Most damaging, there are too manyflashbacks that annotate the characters' frayed consciousness, ideas andfeelings.
Winkler showssome flair in the cutting and staging of the claustrophobic street violence atthe start. But aside from a lovely, tentative sexual moment involving aphysically impaired veteran played by Jessica Biel, thefilm lacks sufficient emotionally credible action.
The casting choicesare eclectic and interesting, although Winkler is too soft and unfocused with
The subdued,naturalistic photography of Tony Pierce-Roberts is the film's only restrainedand technically accomplished achievement.Everything else is filled with sound and fury, but it neitherilluminates nor convinces.
North by Northwest Entertainment
Millennium Films/Nu Image
Michael P. Flannigan
Warren Alan Young
Samuel L Jackson
Curtis Jackson (50 Cent)
Chad Michael Murray