The Invisible War (2012)
Critic Consensus: The Invisible War is a vital and frank expose on sexual assault in the U.S. military, shot by master filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated).
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Critic Reviews for The Invisible War
A must-see exposé of the abuse of power in an institution that is supposed to serve and protect.
I have rarely been more righteously riled up than I was while watching the documentary The Invisible War.
Interview after interview, statistic after statistic, Dick's advocacy project thoroughly incenses -- and appears to be having results.
This travesty has been encouraged by a military culture that blames the victim and a policy directing soldiers to refer complaints to their commanding officer, which typically results in no action or even reprisals against those speaking out.
One of those documentaries that you watch both fascinated and repulsed - and one of those films that you sense just might be instrumental in helping to change an utterly unacceptable status quo.
Audience Reviews for The Invisible War
Well, there's the good part of the American experiment, and then there's the rest. This is a piece about some of that other, wherein representatives of the land of the free and home of the brave justify rape by your colleagues as simply an "occupational hazard". A national disgrace, not only for the crime against our sons and daughters but more so for the sanctioned cover-up after the fact, protecting the abusers. Got a Leave it to Beaver view of America, of its military (the highest example of The Dream), then this is not for you.
Trigger Warning: descriptions of women going through reporting after sexual assault. Though I knew a bit about the inner workings of the US military, their treatment of women was a complete mystery. It turns out, female soldiers are treated as commodities even when they are risking their lives for this country. Not only that, but women in the military are forced into silence and their assailants go unconvicted. Various women come forward to tell their horrifying stories in this film, and the way they were mishandled by the military is terrifying. The system in place is hurting, and giving PTSD, to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women, and it needs to end permanently. This is a seriously emotional look into an institution that devalues women and, worst of all, creates an environment where women feel unsafe. These women joined the military to serve their country, but by the end of the film they hate the institution that they triumphed. That, above all else, is the most disheartening thing to see.
Disturbing and maddening, Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" is an unfortunate document on the rampant rape and sexual violations that occur within the U.S. military, and how a corrupt system allows such acts to go unpunished on a continuous basis. Dick keenly steps aside and allows the victims of these atrocities and their gut-wrenching testimonies to be the heart of the film... rendered in the simplest, most straightforward of fashions. Much to nearly all of the visual inventiveness and on-screen director input present in "This Film is Not Yet Rated" (a great film also by Dick) has been stripped away and the film is more unshakable because of it. This is indeed heavy, uncomfortable content, but a powerful account that should be considered mandatory viewing for every single man and woman considering a career in the U.S. armed forces. It's sure to change a mind or two.
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