Home of the Brave (2006)

Rated: R
Grade: DNF
Budget: $12 million
Box Office: $34 thousand US, $0 million int’l, $3 million DVD

Directed by: Irwin Winkler, who’s made “The Net,” tragically, At First Sight, and Life as a House.
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, Christina Ricci, 50 Cent, Chad Michael Murray, Joyce Cameron, and Victoria Rowell.

A group of Iraq veterans struggle with the psychological and social ramifications of having served in combat and survived a violent attack.

This is not a war/action movie. This is a drama intended to question and criticize the military and, more importantly, those of us who do not fight. If that had been the only problem, I would have kept watching it because I’m interested in anything that’s good art. This isn’t. The acting is awful, but that’s probably because the writing and directing are so bad. Everything about this movie felt manufactured, sort of like a Michael Moore film, but with better actors. If good acting and writing are unnoticeably seamless, this is a good example of not that. I made it to about the 55 minute mark before I realized that it wasn’t getting better and I have better movies to watch with my time. It’s like all the words were right (or at least interesting), but the music was all wrong. And, by the way, in case you missed it, those numbers aren’t wrong. I checked three different sources. $43,000 was the total box office gross in the U.S. Apparently I’m not the only one who found this without merit. Nonetheless, if you suffer through the whole thing, here are some questions to consider.

Discussion Questions:
~Why might serving in the military make it easy to resent those who do not serve? How does military service tend to bond people together? Do the things that bond people together this way also isolate them from others who didn’t serve?
~Is it true that no one really wants to know about the war and also doesn’t care what soldiers suffer?
~Do you think these actors have any credibility to make this film since they have also been highly successful making other war/action films? Why do you think they wanted to make this? Do you think they view it as a form of penance? What do you think military personnel will think of this film? ~If you had to guess, would you say that the makers did or did not consult a wide variety of military personnel in the making of this film?

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