The Good Soldier (2009)
Movie InfoFrom the opening footage spanning decades of combat action, it is apparent no audience will be spared the pain experienced by the subjects of Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys's documentary: this disturbing, deeply affecting look at war through the eyes of American veterans provides extraordinary perspective for civilian viewers. Five men who fought variously in World War II, Vietnam, and the Middle East talk about combat in a down-to-earth, matter-of-fact way that gives horrifying new meaning to the term "brutal realities." These are not masters of atrocity - they are good men who went to war to serve their country. There, they were taught to kill - it was their job; only later, sometimes much later, did it come back to haunt them, filling them with anger and regret. Which is not to say the veterans speak with one voice; from the tightly uniformed, professional soldier to the Marine who does penance by carrying a sign in public confessing to acts of murder in Iraq, their outlooks and coping methods vary. But each man brings his own authentic insight to the story, helping to create a tableau that is as hard to turn away from as it is to watch. Surprisingly free of self-pity and blame, they soldier on in the path of awareness - just as the film itself eschews melodrama as a matter of respect for the searing honesty of its subjects. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Good Soldier
Has important things to say. Sadly, it does so in an unexciting manner.
A film whose benign-sounding title and Veterans Day release give a false impression of what it actually is: an attack on the military, drenched in blood.
Avoids preaching to the choir, though perhaps only the choir will attend.
An explicitly antiwar conclusion unwisely makes the grim focus feel like a bias, but the power of the interviews makes one wish for more stories, not fewer.
The familiar format helps to underscore what's extraordinary about these stories, the fear and indignity felt by the soldiers.
The humane portrayals make it worthwhile, if unspectacular, viewing.
Their wars differ but their tales are eerily identical. Their material is arresting, with troves of detailed memories pouring out for the first time.
Co-directors Lexy Levell and Michael Uys deserve a 21-gun salute for fashioning a sobering antidote to all that patriotic claptrap about serving God, country and apple pie.
Deeply affecting antiwar documentary arriving just at the right moment with Obama planning to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan and just after the senseless massacre at Fort Hood.
Unlike, for example, Errol Morris's recent works, it doesn't bother to buttress the eye-opening firsthand accounts with a coherent historical argument.
This profoundly provocative film has the potential to change society's attitude towards and acceptance of war. It is extremely important that it be seen as widely as possible.
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