[ "HOME OF THE BRAVE" / BULLETIN No. 142 / ,08 Feb. 20 ]

Shibata Yukinori (Jesuit Social Center) 
This film deals with soldiers returning home from the war in Iraq. In the past, movies were also made on the battle fields of Vietnam and Afghanistan. Compared to those movies, the present film is not a masterwork and its thematic is not as rich. Nevertheless, Hollywood's film stars, beginning from Samuel L. Jackson, make an impassioned performance with silent appeals on the realities of the soldiers, back in the battle fields.
Iraq's war started on March 13, 2003. The International coalition forces involved exceeded 260,000 soldiers, including an American stronghold of over 210,000 military personnel. During the past 5 years of the war about 3,800 American soldiers were killed and more than 1,000 civilians belonging to Private Military Companies or Military Firms have been also killed. On the other hand, nearly 100,000 civilian Iraqis and more than 26,000 or 36,000 Iraqi police and military personnel have also died. According to the official results of research done by WHO (January 2008), the overall numbers of victims killed, up to now, in the Iraq War reached 151,000. And the victims continue growing.
Iraq has been converted into a battle field where, even now, many people continue being killed. But, the brave soldiers returning, safely, from the tunnel of the battle fields have found a new battle front at home. This film depicts the realities of 4 National Guards returning home to Washington State.
Military medical doctors Will Marsh, Tommy, Jordan, Jamal and Vanessa were doing humanitarian work at the front line Delta American military base. Their last task before returning home was to perform health checks of civilians and transport medical equipment and medicines. But in an armed conflict with rebel forces Jordan, an intimate friend of Tommy lost his life in front of him. Jamal shot an Iraqi woman to death. Vanessa is injured by a landmine and Will treats her.
Upon return home, Will, Tommy and Jamal attend the funeral for Jordan. Tommy cannot recover from the shock of having lost Jordan, his best friend. He is fired from the gun store where he had been employed and although his father advices him to become a police officer he is uninterested in the job and passes every day idly.
Jamal is all irritated because of the trauma of having killed a civilian and the feeling that his girl friend is running away.
Will is suffering with remembrances of wounded people he was unable to assist in the battle field, suffers from insomnia and gets addict to alcohol. He does not dare to open his heart to his wife. His son becomes rebellious and stumbles over antiwar movements, despising his father.
Vanessa has lost a hand and is able to return to a High School as teacher of physical education. Divorced, she became a single mother and on top of that, due to her physical impediment makes efforts not to appear weak in front of others taking a rigid attitude. The results are that she becomes isolated from her friends and the administration.
One day Jamal, psychologically cornered, entrenches oneself with hostages in a coffee shop where his girl friend is employed. Tommy appears there ready to convince Jamal to let the hostages free...
Some among them attend counseling sessions and try to fix their human relationship with all people around. Others look for happiness falling in love. There are also some who cannot forget their young companions still in the battlefield and go back again to Iraq to meet with them. The producer and the director of this film made a thorough research on the soldiers returning from Iraq, before producing the film. And as a result, not only the story itself but also every word of the actors appears very real. War that occasions deep internal damage to soldiers, not ideology, draws forcefully near. The opening battle scene, filmed in Morocco, with the shouts of the American soldiers: "Move! Move!" was very impressive. But, where to move? Where is it safe? Where are Iraq and America heading now?
Where is my place to stay? Who am, really, I? This is a right film for those who want to be honest.

(Shibata Yukinori, Jesuit Social Center, Tokyo)
[ http://www.nikkatsu.com/yusha ]
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