America At A Crossroads: Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience (2007)
Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 20
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 74
Operation Homecoming never quite captures anything so poignant or precise, rather falling into seemingly endless variations of 'war is hell.'
It provides an illuminating portrait of the mind-set of those men and women serving overseas.
The anthology format would fit better on TV, as would director Richard E. Robbins' unfortunate use of cheesy slo-mo re-enactments. When Robbins flickers through a series of photos of the fallen, the rapid cutting becomes absurd and dehumanizing.
Operation Homecoming is a spinoff from an anthology of essays, e-mail messages, poems and letters from soldiers in Iraq.
The sometimes uneven quality of the imagery serves to highlight the shattering honesty of these barings of the soul.
Operation Homecoming at first seems like a modest enterprise, a document of a few guys' paths to personal catharsis. But the sense of damaged intensity found in all these men's writing builds to a powerful crescendo.
Robbins war documentary is for the spectator to come to terms with what's occurring on the battle field and it gives a wonderful impartial view of the current war...
Robbins' docu, initiated by the NEA, tries to convey the subjective feeling and thoughts of soldiers through their writing, be they letters, poems, or stories. By necessity, this collection, which is read by pro actors, is varied in interest and quality.
A different approach from more straightforward Iraq War documentaries. And the film definitely has effective moments, especially those dealing with grief and the rough transition from military to civilian life.
They're stories of war that resonate with anyone who has ever been in a war zone, and they illustrate beautifully for those who have not seen battle, just what combat can do to a person's soul.
Flaws aside, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience has much value, both as an artistic and historical document.
When is a documentary NOT a documentary? When it's this. Definately worth a look.
The cumulative effect of Operation Homecoming is to bring to light the soldiers' collective experiences and the enduring nightmares they suffer in our place.
A sobering reminder that war is more than smartly-dressed politicians exchanging barbs about what's best for America.
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