User Reviews (91)

  • Gordon-1127 May 2007
    Thought provoking, gripping and touching
    This film is about how soldiers who served in Iraq face life back in their hometown.

    The striking thing is that this film focuses on the emotional impact on the returning soldiers, and the people around them. The dialogs are raw, truthful and at times politically provocative. The portrayal of post traumatic stress disorder is subtle but palpable, and Jessica Biel's performance of a tough woman to hide her pains of losing her hand is astonishingly well acted.

    I do not see this as an anti-war vehicle. Rather, it serves as a reminder of how wars affect the soldiers, and then make us think hard whether such a war was necessary in the first place. I am the most impressed by the filmmakers decision on making this movie, as the predominant climate in America is against them.
  • kosmasp1 April 2007
    7/10
    Home (bitter)sweet home
    I can see why some people kinda hate this movie. It's a drama that could've been made for TV. It shows American soldiers returning back home and not their victims life and/or point of view. But the movie doesn't try to make a political statement about the war, it does however try (and achieve to a certain extent imho) to show us the tragic (after)life of a soldier. Yes Flags of our Fathers (C. Eastwood) is a better/superior picture in that respect, but that doesn't mean that Home of the Brave isn't at least good! While there is no full attack on/against the war (excuse the pun), certain moments do criticize the events. What really made this movie watchable for me, were the actors. The main actors did a good job conveying their trauma, fear and rage. While that might not be enough for many people, I did like what I saw. I liked the movie and the discussions here show that it affects people (even if it is in a bad way) and they keep talking about it. Although some conversations go to far, this only adds to the attraction/appealing of the movie ... whether you like it or not!
  • Jason Bailey28 December 2006
    1/10
    Horrifyingly incompetent butchering of an important topic
    Warning: Spoilers
    Poor Tommy Yates (Brian Presley), one of the heroes of the Iraq war drama Home of the Brave, has fallen so far after his return home that the best job he can get is (shudder) working the box office at a movie theatre. He runs into Vanessa (Jessica Biel), who was hurt in the attack that killed his best friend, at the movie theatre; they chat about how hard it has been to adjust. Tommy notes that he sells "stupid tickets to these stupid movies," but he never goes to see them, because they "seem so unimportant."

    There are no other scenes at Tommy's place of employment—he could work at any number of low-paying menial jobs. But screenwriter Mark Friedman works in that little piece of commentary to congratulate both himself and the viewer; the film you're watching is not like all those other "stupid movies," you see. It's important. The problem is that Home of the Brave is an execrable film, so poorly made and obvious that it is impossible to take seriously, no matter how earnest and noble the intentions. A bad film is a bad film, whether it concerns serious topics or not.

    Most bad films can be blamed squarely on the script—and this one's a doozy—but Home of the Brave is incompetent on every level: bad writing, bad directing, bad music, bad editing, and mostly bad performances. Director Irwin Winkler started out as an accomplished producer, and bore that credit on many good films (Raging Bull and Rocky among them), but he has yet to direct a good film, after many tries (The Net, At First Sight, De-Lovely, Life as a House). There's no focus to this effort; the pacing plods, the performances are all over the place, and there's not a cliché in the war movie book that Winkler doesn't embrace (when Chad Michael Murray buys the farm early in the picture—to my immense relief—Winkler actually has his best buddy Presley run to him in slow motion, screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!").

    The screenplay, by first-time screenwriter (and former Harvey Weinstein assistant) Mark Friedman, is astonishingly bad. Its poor quality sneaks up on you, since there's minimal dialogue before the first extended action sequence (though said dialogue does include the news that this Iraq company will be heading home inside of a week, which anyone who has ever seen a cop movie knows is a sure sign of impending death and destruction). But the dialogue is atrocious, the kind of corny, cliché-ridden platitudes that would get a quick rewrite on your average made-for-TV movie (which Home of the Brave, with its plinky piano music and slo-mo flashbacks, often recalls). For example, when he visits his buddy's widow (Christina Ricci, whose tiny role in a film this bad is entirely inexplicable), she asks, "Was he a hero, Tommy?" He replies, "He died defending his country." The whole script is like that.

    And everyone gets a big monologue. Poor Jessica Biel actually has one where she tells the story of how she was injured—which we saw, in its entirety, in the opening sequence. Her telling adds no insight or additional perspective to the earlier scene; I guess it's there for people who showed up late (helpfully, footage from the scene is shown over her shoulder, as if she's Katie Couric or something). Victoria Rowell, as Samuel L. Jackson's wife, has a long monologue where she lists all of the things she did for their family while he was gone; he's aware of all of them ("I supported you when you enlisted!"), so this entire speech exists purely for our benefit. And so on. Even Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson gets a monologue, and whoa boy was that a bad idea. I know he's a tough guy (since he'll never shut up about how many times he's been shot), so I'm sure he can take the criticism he'll receive for his performance in this film. He's awful, all dead eyes and mumbled dialogue; given moments that require a real actor (like when he accidentally takes out an Iraqi civilian), Jackson's face registers nothing. Whatever you call him, Jackson or Fiddy, he stinks.

    Brian Presley, who probably has more screen time than anyone, doesn't fare much better. The bulk of Presley's resume, according to IMDb, is on soap operas; this is his first major film, and with any luck, it will be his last. His line readings are stilted and unconvincing, his attempts at genuine emotion are laughable, and even a good actor would have trouble delivering his final "Dear Mom and Dad" voice-over well.

    Samuel L. Jackson is good enough, I guess, but when is he going to get back to making good films? We've given him like ten years of paycheck roles now; it's time for him to stop phoning it in. He basically has to play the same notes that his contemporary Denzel Washington did in Courage Under Fire ten years ago; that was a brilliant, subtle performance, but even more so compared with Jackson's work here (his drunk act is about as nuanced as Foster Brooks'). The surprise of the film is Jessica Biel, who is actually the best thing in it, proving that her solid (but brief) turn in The Illusionist was no fluke. She has a couple of moments so honest, in fact, that they deserve to have been airlifted into a better film.

    Believe it or not, I feel like I'm low-balling the sheer ineptitude of Home of the Brave; it really is inexcusably stupid, a mixture of every bad Lifetime drama, filtered through a hot topic to make it seem timely. And that's perhaps what is most reprehensible about the film: it is a ham-fisted, simple-minded, schlocky examination of an important subject. And for that, the people who made it should be ashamed of themselves.
  • janos4518 December 2006
    7/10
    Brave film about journeys to Iraq and back
    Irwin Winkler's "Home of the Brave" is much more than "just a movie," even if, as such, it's a partially flawed one. It is, without question, an important, thought- and emotion-provoking film, certain to be controversial.

    Regardless of its merits, "Home" is brave, worthwhile, even admirable in its pioneering coverage of 150,000 soldiers "over there," and roughly the same number of returnees, who are trying to return in fact, not only in name.

    This story of a group of National Guard soldiers from Spokane serving in Iraq and returning home is a schizophrenic experience: you are watching scenes straight out of last night's TV news, and yet feel as if you were back in the 1940s, in the era of "The Best Years of Our Lives" war movies, and the 1970s "Born on the Fourth of July" type Vietnam veteran sagas.

    Given the subject, it's to Winkler's credit that "Home of the Brave" (a confusing title choice, considering the many movies with that name) remains firmly neutral about the current debate central to all politics. The film portrays both the support for and the opposition to the war, but favors neither. Winkler (producer for 40 years, including "Rocky" II-VI) sticks with characters in the context of the war, not making mouthpieces of them for or against a cause.

    Mouthpieces, no; cardboard figures, some. Writing (by Mark Friedman) and acting are fair-to-problematic. The overemotional writing and excessively melodramatic acting combine to present a drama of extremes, denying the existence of true majority response to trauma: simple coping. Murder, suicide, insanity do occur in postwar situations, but most people, in my own experience, deal with such problems - more or less successfully - and go on with their lives.

    In "Home of the Brave," you find no such "middle of the road," only extremes. After suspenseful (and depressing) Iraqi war scenes, shot in Morocco by Tony Pierce-Roberts, in a remarkably focused way that allows rare visual clarity in the midst of combat confusion, the film shifts to Spokane.

    There, we follow - among many others - the lives of a combat surgeon (Samuel L. Jackson), a driver who loses an arm (Jessica Biel), three high-school buddies with intertwining stories (Chad Michael Murray, Brian Presley, and rap star 50 Cent). There are some quiet moments and reality-based situations, but the constant high-voltage !DRAMA! reveals and partially invalidates a manipulative hand pulling the (heart) strings.
  • creativehistorygirl14 December 2006
    7/10
    Good overall
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am glad that I had the opportunity to go to an advanced screening of this film. It was a good show overall.

    Some folks have complained about overacting, but people coping with trauma/post trauma in real life overact. They do not not behave like society expects in that little box that is deemed 'normal.' It also allowed for the movie to not have a tidy Hollywood ending where everyone lives happily ever after. I felt that the characters were much more believable that way.

    Samuel L. Jackson's performance was particularly strong when his character arrived late to thanksgiving dinner with his guests. Victoria Rowell was a solid counterbalance to his character throughout the entire piece as well. It would have been nice to see the roles by 50 Cent and Brian Presley switched as it would have gone against typecasting.

    The biggest weakness I felt the film had was such a strong reliance on flashbacks, but they make sense for the way that the story is structured.

    I also found it humorous that a Judith Krantz or was it a Susan Brown book is in a doctor's office where medical reference books should be. This appears later in the movie.

    This film does not try to tackle whether the Iraqi war is right or wrong. It only asks the question as it shows viewers the aftermath of its impact on an individual level.
  • didafetz9 October 2007
    10/10
    Home of the brave
    In fact I expected to see another patriotic movie about "the heroic, liberating" battles of the American army in Iraq, but I was surprised. I think the movie is extraordinary because of the aspect in which the war is revealed. Not about the victory or lose of battle on the field but losing the battle with yourself with your fears and traumas you cannot overcome for life. I think maybe this film is misunderstood to a significant extent by most people who had never been in the army, because they can never be aware of the shock and stress on the battlefield and the anti-social effect upon you when you are in the army and you don't think about daily problems, but you only struggle to survive and the only hope that keeps you going is one day to get home, see your family, friends, relatives. In the battlefield when your only dream and hope is to get home, you make it perfect and ideal in your dreams, and of course the next is step is the disappointment and depression when you get back and see that instead of sympathy for your suffers you meet hate, instead of gratitude you meet indifference. As in life people forget quick, everyone are forgotten, as all your friends you left in the desert. Maybe that is the strong point of the movie - the clearly universal human reveal of what war brings along and that the romantic and heroic is left behind the hatred and desperation. You are called no war hero - but war criminal. It is also not only government, institutions and army guilty about the war, but all society because it elected and supported this government. Some of my colleagues and some boys I don't know from our brigade, that never came home, and for all young men that never lived to see their home again I rate this movie 10. I think they deserve respect as humans, that went to fight for a cause, that they did not choose to fight for. Better fight for something than live for nothing. The history shall judge if their sacrifice was in vain.
  • Roger_Eberts_Ghost30 November 2006
    1/10
    I'm Ashamed I Went To The Advanced Screening Of This
    I am a film student and tonight Producer Rob Cowan came to our campus to show the first advanced screening of this film. Naturally, many students took advantage of this hoping to see a decent, entertaining film... HOWEVER, There aren't adequate words to describe how awful this film is. I knew going into it that this film was probably not going to be some engaging, powerful war drama, but still something to leave audiences satisfied. The reasons why this movie was awful 1. The acting is preposterous, not one character (Samuel L., Jessica Biel, 50 Cent (Obviously)) was well acted in any manner. 2. It is one of the most poorly written I have ever been privy too. Feeding off of the topical debates over the war in iraq, the script is ridden with clichés and feels like a Lifetime Movie gone wrong. 3. The directing to say the least is an absolute disgrace. This film is horribly structured and a complete headache as a result 4. 50 Cent. Going in, I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt and judge his acting abilities fairly without any prior stigmas. Sadly, The minute he opened his mouth he erased all doubt that he has absolutely no place in this film

    Typically, I am not a big fan of completely trashing a film. I believe that my opinion is my own and it is wrong to spread that on others. With that being said, I can say that this is the one film that I have no problem doing so. If in the event you would like to judge for yourself, don't say I didn't warn you when your cursing out the Movie Theatre manager for not giving you a refund.
  • OIF VET24 October 2007
    10/10
    Best Film I've seen in years!
    If you are an OIF VET, you must see this movie. If you have never been in combat, you may want to skip it. I watched this with my significant other and it was the best 2 hours of our life. I am very proud of my service and those I served with. The movie is incredibly accurate and was worth the wait. If you're expecting a shoot 'em up film, skip it and consider enlisting in the military. If you want to know what battle is really like; the disorganization, the confusion, the odd moments, this movie is it. I can't say enough about the actors. Even recalling the trauma events is dead on. The girl in the movie was dead on. You don't recall it like a film, it's bits and broken pieces with important details gone and odd small clips (like a lollipop) that stick. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS FILM. IF YOU'RE A VET, SEE THE FILM AND FIND A VET CENTER.
  • gradyharp6 November 2007
    5/10
    The War Inside
    The War Inside, November 6, 2007 By Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews (TOP 10 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME) HOME OF THE BRAVE is one of those films that is difficult to critique: the message of how war permanently alters the minds and bodies of soldiers and their families is a meaningful one and one about which we need to be reminded. Irwin Winkler has made some good films (DeLovely, Life as a House, Guilty by Suspicion), but in this film he seems to be working against the script by Mark Friedman which has a tendency to oversimplify emotions and thus loses its impact.

    The film begins in Iraq where each of the main characters is at least tangentially connected. Dr. Will Marsh (Samuel L. Jackson) is in a truck driven by Vanessa (Jessica Biel) and accompanied by soldiers Tommy (Brian Presley) and Jamal (50 Cent AKA Curtis Jackson) when a roadside bomb explodes, maiming the hand of Vanessa, killing Tommy's best friend, making Jamal witness unnecessary civilian deaths, and placing Will in an impotent position as a doctor. Flash forward to Spokane, Washington where each of these four wounded people try to piece their lives together in a world that loathes the Iraq war (not at all unlike the treatment of soldiers returning from the unpopular Vietnam debacle), trying to make sense of it all.

    The problem with the good idea for a movie lies in the too traditional plot lines. The actors (especially Presley and Biel) give it their all, but credibility enters and the smoke rises and we are left with a misplaced patriotism. The message is strong: the delivery of it is shaky. Grady Harp
  • Till Noever23 April 2007
    10/10
    If only more were this fortunate
    Warning: Spoilers
    HotB is about three soldiers returning back from a tour in the ongoing war in Iraq and their adjustment issues. In the leads: Samuel Jackson as army surgeon Will Marsh, who feels guilty about his powerlessness to save people and about having become desensitized to their suffering; Jessica Biel as supply runt Vanessa Price, who got her right hand blown off by a roadside bomb, triggered by a kid with a cellphone; Brian Presley as soldier Tommy Yates, who lost his best friend just days before the scheduled return home as a result of the same ambush that occasioned Vanessa's injury.

    That ambush of what amounts to a humanitarian supply convoy is what loosely connects the characters; as Marsh is the first to tend to Vanessa and she briefly catches a glimpse of Yates as well, before everything goes to the dogs of war.

    The first segment, in Iraq, portrays some of the pressures of being a soldier, at all levels and in all functions; always having to be on guard, because anything else will kill you. The operative term is 'always'; unrelenting tension and stress, sometimes apparently qualifying as mild, but it never leaves you. For there are people around who hate you and will kill you whenever they can. There are also those who don't hate you and who may even be glad you're there and doing what you're doing, but it's in the nature of things that they will not go out with the same fervor and try to protect you; nor will they speak out in your defense with the same vigor as your opponents. This is, after all, the nature of these things.

    So, these three come home—plus a few other, more peripheral, figures—and, unlike is the case in other 'soldiers returning home' movies, nothing much actually happens. Which is part of the problem. For the normality of the life of those they are charged to defend—for whatever reason and motivation—is stifling with its normality and the complete lack of appreciation of their situation by those they return home to. So Marsh walks into a home where his son is disgusted not only at the war, but also at his father being a part of it; plus he has trouble sleeping, because he had gotten so used to not getting much sleep. Vanessa has to deal with being a solo divorced mum whose relationship with former boyfriend, Ray (James McDonald), went to the dogs some time ago, and who has to deal with being a one-handed cripple, who can't accept help even from friendly strangers like Cary (Jeffrey Nordling). Tommy has to deal with his father, who's a good guy but a bit dense and simple; a former buddy who's gone mentally AWOL for a number of reasons, and whose rage focuses on his former girlfriend who isn't interested in him anymore; as well as Tommy's own nagging guilt feelings at leaving his fellow soldiers behind to fight, while his own life's become 'safe'—in a manner of speaking.

    The problems at home would have appeared trivial in comparison to those these three faced while in the warzone. But they're not, because all problems and their magnitude are relative. Still, all of them have this notion that they don't fit, all for apparently different reasons—they all are the same.

    Irwin Winkler's direction and the script focuses on the ways in which it might be possible to overcome those problems; the manner in which those exposed to the brutalities of war may be redeemed and become, if not 'normal', but at least 'adapted' to life outside a warzone again. In the process the movie is careful to lay open the mood in the US with regards to the Iraq war; both sides of it, and with equal and evenhanded fairness. In the process it avoids making what amounts to a judgment, because that's not what what this movie is all about. It has much more the air of Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, which also focused on soldiers, rather than politics; all the time acknowledging that there were political issues, but they were at another level and sometimes had to be put aside—with the notable exception of a certain, entirely justified, cynicism toward all politicians; as well as all those who basically don't end up having to put themselves in harm's way—except maybe in an election, which hardly compares.

    The solutions offered by the film are fairly simple, and they have to do with love, understanding, consideration and appreciation; not just as carried out by the professional machinery of organized 'rehabilitation', but by the only ones who can do this in a sustained way: family, friends, neighbors and so on, in an ever-widening circle. And this isn't happening, by and large, though the movie suggests that it might. Sometimes. For the lucky ones. Because, as far as the fate of returned soldiers these days are concerned, all three main protagonists in HotB qualify as 'fortunate'. One would wish that it were more than a few.

    The editing of this film is interesting and fits with the need to follow the fates of three separate lives without too much discontinuity as the focus shifts from one person to another and another and back again. It's also difficult to tell the passage of time, but once one gets used to it, it flows easily enough. The moving shots in the warzone contrast with the many static ones 'at home'. Short scenes alternate with long ones in deft timing. The pacing is thoughtful and measured. At the end there are more questions unanswered than at the beginning. Which is as it should be.
  • indigotenniscat29 November 2007
    1/10
    The worst military film I've ever seen
    Warning: Spoilers
    Being a military dependent for most my life I was interested in seeing what take this film would go in when it comes to the war in Iraq-both on whether it would take a stand and what would come out of the mouths of soldiers regarding the war. The stand it took was fine, although the medical surgeon's son being against the war on principal AND simply because his father was involved seemed all wrong. I have friends and family members that have been involved in this war and others. One can hate their parent b/c they're "that age" but a hug some kind of glad you're OK emotion would've been made at some point in time. I don't know who their military liaison was or if they even had one, but there were military no-no's from the beginning. No one absolutely NO ONE calls each other by their first name, and it gets worse from there.

    The reactions by both the soldiers, their spouses, families, friends seemed more than wrong-it was a tragedy because had this been done right it really could've given the American people a window into what it's like to come home. Rather than the clichéd cookie cutter hodge podge that is HOME OF THE BRAVE, and the cheesy emotional music during the flashbacks made it feel like this was a bad after school special.
  • GoneWithTheTwins22 October 2007
    4/10
    Home of the Brave Movie Review from MoviePulse.net
    Varied messages and skewed perspectives abound in this calamity of Iraqi war aftermath victims. Home of the Brave has good intentions and controversial subject matter, but it doesn't translate into an entertaining bit of cinema. Actors such as Samuel L. Jackson who usually churn out admirable performances are left with nothing to work with due to an obnoxious script and meager supporting characters; asinine dialogue carelessly peppers this defenseless cinematic convoy.

    Home of the Brave revolves around four soldiers who return home after a lengthy tour in Iraq. Will Marsh (Samuel L. Jackson) is a medical captain who is haunted by the lost lives he could not save. Vanessa Price (Jessica Biel) is a military cargo driver who loses her hand in a roadside explosion, and must readjust her life around her scathing injury. Tommy Yates (Brian Presley) is a specialist who deals with the torment of watching his childhood friend die in his arms from an Iraqi insurgent, and Jamal Aiken (Curtis Jackson) must cope with the accidental shooting of an Iraqi woman during the firefight that ensues after their convoy is ambushed. All four soldiers crumble under the hardships of adjusting to their old lifestyles and the dour impact the war has caused.

    Back in 1946 a little film called The Best Years of Our Lives garnered eight Academy Award nominations and seven wins, including Best Picture and Best Director. Its premise was heartwarming, the acting superb, and the tearjerker moments abundant. War torn veterans return home to discover a changed world that was unsympathetic and ignorant of the atrocities that took place during World War II. Home of the Brave is essentially a remake of that film, replacing WWII with the current Iraqi war. The exception of course, is that Home of the Brave fails to generate even the mildest drama and human emotion evoked from the 1946 classic.

    The film begins with predictable action reminiscent of the least impressive scenes from Black Hawk Down. Explosions and gunfire rattle the crumbling walls of the Iraqi city. But poor timing and ill-contrived slow motion shots clutter the already bland action. On top of that, the acting is abhorrent. While Samuel L. Jackson and Brian Presley make a decent attempt, they simply don't have much to work with. Curtis Jackson is horribly miscast; his character is pointless, nonsensical and nearly unintelligible. Biel also hands in an uninspiring role with ludicrous dialogue. Her rubbery hand prosthetics are continuously used in unintentionally hilarious scenes with laughable quips which further mock her handicap and the seriousness of losing limbs. Understanding and connection with the characters is never established and therefore the audience is left questioning how they should feel about the situations depicted.

    The major political themes in the film are also ambiguous and conflicting at times. Marsh defends his son's anti-war mindset even though he willingly participated and supported the war. Nearly the entire film shows the negative aspects of war and the uncompromising and depressing inner conflicts each character suffers with. And yet at the conclusion the mood abruptly circles toward support of the war and those who can no longer live without the pressing sense of camaraderie. Yates is so distraught and uncomfortable in adapting himself into his previous lifestyle that his only choice is to go back to the harsh conflicts in Iraq where he understands the soldiers and their need to fight for what they believe in. Why push the negative outlook, only to resolve with Yates' unexplainable drive to reenlist? Is the film defending the war or criticizing it? Apparently it doesn't know.

    While veterans and those familiar with the crippling aspects of combat may relate to the characters or situations, unfortunately, like the families of soldiers who stay behind and maintain their normal lives, general audiences won't find anything fulfilling or noteworthy about this movie. The pilfered plot from a far superior film, the absurd dialogue and the mediocre acting all contribute to a generic war film that will certainly be passed up as soon as its one week theatrical run deceases.

    • Mike Massie
  • Matt Rivenbark1 May 2007
    1/10
    Apologies are due
    Warning: Spoilers
    Some people in the movie business make movies they don't have to be proud of. They may do it for the paycheck, because it's a fun movie, or sometimes even to poke a little fun at themselves. The best examples of these (Snakes on a Plane, Miss Congeniality, Jurassic Park, or the better part of William Shatner's career) are fun, lightweight popcorn flicks that are good quality escapist fare that nobody has to feel bad about.

    But then movies come along like Home of the Brave. Not only don't the minds behind this have a movie to be proud of, they owe an apology to the people they're trying to portray. If the movie's about alien mutant dinosaurs from Pluto coming to steal our rabbits, then a lot can be forgiven. If the movie is about the challenges that soldiers face coming home from a very real war, a more careful hand is required. Sadly, those careful hands weren't involved in this project.

    It's a pretty compelling premise, and there is a lot of talent in the cast. Samuel L. Jackson tones it down a bit and (in a rare occurrence) underplays his role a bit. I never saw him as one to embody the "slow boil." 50 cent, for the few scenes he's in, is strong. Jessica Biel will probably get panned for her performance, in much the same way Christina Ricci was in Monster, because her character was *supposed* to be awkward, out of place, and painful to watch. Despite the fact it may be faint praise, I'd say it's probably the best work of her career. Brian Presley shows that he's been wasting his time on soaps and TV for far too long.

    That's where the niceties stop. All this talent in front of the camera is wasted by a bad script, a worse directing job, and a story that was just fundamentally a bad idea.

    ***SPOILERS BEGIN***

    We'll ignore the number of scenes that were totally blown by horribly clichéd dialogue and worse direction. Let's focus on the theme of the movie -- all soldiers who come back from Iraq are mentally unstable time bombs who are unable to re-integrate into society, at least at first. The white ones eventually find their way, and the black ones go for their guns and resort to violence. I kid you not -- that really is what this movie is saying.

    The total lack of attention to detail is splashed across the closing frames in a quote from Machiavelli. "Wars begin where you will, but they do not end where you please." Nice quote, but this is from the same guy who said "Before all else, be armed," "It is better to be feared than loved," and "the end justifies the means." It sounds like I'm making a petty point, but it's illustrative of the lack of depth that this movie has.

    ***SPOILERS END***

    I know enough people who have been to Iraq and back (or who are still over there) to feel insulted on their behalf. A subject like this deserves to be treated with respect, and this movie just doesn't do it.
  • antiotter11 May 2010
    1/10
    A veteran's perspective
    Warning: Spoilers
    I probably have a different point of view than most reviews, being an actual Iraq War veteran.

    This movie is quite terrible from the start. A bizarrely organized Washington National Guard unit is caught an ambush. Unfortunately, it's so patently obviously they're being herded into a kill zone, and they do absolutely nothing to prevent it, that it's difficult to feel sympathy for anyone dumb enough to allow themselves to get trapped that easily. It gets even more absurd as a fire team of four guys decides to abandon their vehicles and run blindly into a numerically superior force with overwhelming firepower. Again, my response was "serves you idiots right" when someone gets killed.

    The three main characters are Lt. Col. Marsh, a medical officer; Sgt Price, a female mechanic; and two enlisted infantrymen, Yates and Jamal. Yes, they all ended up in the same ambush. Don't ask.

    Marsh hits the bottle and clashes with his rebellious anti-war son, culminating in an unintentionally hilarious drunken Thanksgiving scene.

    Price loses a hand to an IED, and she becomes a bitter and angry at the world.

    Jamal is just angry, and his mumbling is nearly unintelligible. He flips out at a group therapy session, complete with a random appearance by a grizzled Vietnam veteran. Don't ask.

    Yates is supposed to be the emotional center of this film, but between his limited acting ability and the poorly written script, you just want him to stop whining. His civilian employer blatantly violates the federal USERRA law, and his response is to do nothing. He even gives the cheesy "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE OVER THERE, MAN!" speech.

    What little suspension of disbelief is frequently broken by the poor production values, lack of research, and training. None of the actors look remotely comfortable holding a weapon, wearing a uniform (the berets in particular look ridiculous), or doing anything even remotely military-related. Random military jargon is thrown into the dialogue, even if it is completely out of place, or totally nonsensical in context.

    The main problem is none of the characters have a realistic character arc. They go from damaged to whole again for little or no reason. It's like going from A to C with no B.
  • dweber-115 June 2007
    10/10
    Best movie on Iraq vets, this is the real deal. Jackson should win an Oscar
    Don't believe anything more you hear from friends or the news, until you see this. This is a a a rare opportunity to truly commiserate with the US soldiers who have served in Iraq. It is the most responsible work of art in US cinema, I've seen in a long time.

    This is the reason I registered to do a review. This is a ten out of ten. It shows the soldiers difficulties in Iraq and at home dealing with their communities that don't really understand, yet think its enough to have a yellow ribbon sticker on their car. I'm recommending this very highly to the people who will never have to face these hardships and should be able to thank our soldiers for what they gave.

    Sometimes its their sanity, sometimes a limb, sometimes their life...
  • piotroxp28 January 2007
    10/10
    Wars come and go, but soldiers stay
    Touching. Fantastic. And about lives of people we hear about on TV, radio and read about on the net. For me, its one of those movies, that change your point of view - it is NOT a classical movie, but a very good position referring about war, broken families and the possible consequences of the ongoing chain of Hatred. It makes people think about ones situation - at least it had in my case. Awesome. And almost a must-see for people before being taken to the army. Some situations you come across while watching this movie can make tears fall. And from my point of view, the story contained in this film is original, moving and real-life, in opposition to many dull positions we are bound to see. I really enjoyed watching this story.

    Wars start when you will,but end not when you please...
  • aoiihottie8216 January 2007
    10/10
    Absolutely Amazing!
    I completely disagree with the negative comments on this movie. Obviously, people who have been commenting have never been to Iraq or know anything about it. I think this is an amazing movie and depicts Iraq perfectly. I think the cast was very believable as "soldiers" and believe that this movie is one for all! The way all lives intertwined and showed how each one's life was impacted and changed. . . was a very creative direction. I recommend this movie to all people, but if you have any reservations about war. . . then maybe it isn't for you. I would think twice before I started to criticize a movie, though. You never know about a person or movie until you have lived it.
  • ddennison-17 January 2007
    1/10
    A Hideous, Atrocious Piece of Cinematic Dreck
    Movies like this prove that what we really need is the ability to sue the producers, directors and screenwriters of garbage movies like this for the damage it does to our minds to watch something so cheesy, unskilled and artless. And to get compensation for such an utter waste of our time and effort to rent the stupid DVD.

    The scripting is one cliché after another that you know exactly where it's going to go. The acting is abominable, I've seen better in 4th grade plays. You keep watching only in the desperate hope that something above the level of pure trite garbage is going to develop. Hint: It doesn't.

    With the vast number of truly superb, well-written, well-acted, and well-produced movies out there you could better spend your time on, there's no reason to waste it on this. Leave this piece of junk on the shelf and move on.
  • LydiaOLydia7 March 2012
    10/10
    Ahead of its time. The best war movie of the 2000s, hands down.
    No movie yet made better reflects American wars of the early 2000s. It is realistic and touching; there are no easy answers but only long journeys to recovery. Back when this movie came out, many people were under a number of delusions - about the nature of the American Economy and of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is reflected in the IMDb reviews, where many people's political biases (from 2006, when the movie was released) made them unable to see what this film was about. It's six years later - Iraq and Afghanistan are, well, are certainly not in the win column and all but the most obstinate of holdouts now realize the tragic foolishness of the US's reckless escapades.

    This movie is not easy to watch; it is not fun. But it is honest and well acted, and approaches the subject matter intelligently and compassionately. This is an absolute "under the radar" movie, and I hope this goes down in history along with "the Deer Hunter" as movies ahead of their time. This is far far far better than any Iraq/Afghanistan movie that has yet been made, and I've seen them all. 10/10 unhesitatingly.
  • pageiv22 September 2007
    5/10
    "A" for effort
    Warning: Spoilers
    I first saw the trailer for this movie over a year ago, I was intrigued because there's been scant attention paid to military action since 9/11 in Hollywood. I saw a poster for this movie in the theater, but wasn't sure if I was too busy or it never showed up but I missed it there.

    Let's just saw I finally watched this movie using "alternative" sources. The film follows four Iraqi vets back in the states and the effects of the war upon them. It's heart was in the right place, but there was too much crammed into a single film. Sam Jackson has a drinking problem after serving as a combat surgeon, Jessica Beil loses a hand to an IED, 50 Cent slowly flips out because of VA issues, and the other guy is on countless meds because of PTSD. Any one of the four would've made an interesting movie in itself, but total there was too much going on with their four lives intermingling through out the movie. Like I said, they tried, but just too much going on.

    Being in the Army certain things drove me crazy, like any scene with 50 Cent wearing a beret. What was up with that? Obviously they had military folks that helped out with uniforms and the like, but no one knows how to wear a beret? Just take the damn thing off if you cant get it right will you Hollywood? The combat scenes were adequate, not what I'd call "infantry tactics" but believable for the movie.

    Looking down the road and seeing the spate of anti war films coming this one maybe viewed as being one of the most pro-soldier films, just a pity it was done like this.
  • Chris Jones5 November 2007
    9/10
    Much better than the rating on IMDb would suggest
    I didn't see this movie in the theater -- somehow I missed it when it came out, but we recently purchased the DVD and I wasn't sure what to expect. When I checked on IMDb, I was surprised at how low the movie was rated and wasn't sure what to expect. Let me say right up front, this movie is MUCH better than a 5.3.

    The movie relates the experiences of a National Guard unit in Iraq due to be shipped back to the states in a few weeks. They receive a mission to escort an Army doctor to a clinic in another city and en route the convoy is ambushed. Quite a few members of the convoy are injured or killed and one of the vehicles gets hit with an IED before the convoy is able to escape to safety.

    This all takes place in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and the rest of the movie is what happens when the group returns stateside, and the effects of this one incident on each of them.

    What makes this film noteworthy is that it sheds light on an issue that isn't commonly addressed in films about war, and more particularly the war in Iraq: namely, the difficulties that National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers face upon returning home from an overseas tour.

    There is just no way to relate to what happens in war, the unimaginable horror and sheer brutality and cruelty of it, but yet somehow there is an expectation that these citizen-soldiers can somehow just come home and magically reintegrate back into their former lives as if nothing ever happened.

    The movie shows so beautifully how it is probably often not possible for this to happen because people who have lived through these kinds of experiences are changed forever. More to the point there's no way for them to relate the experiences they had "over there" to anyone who hasn't been through it themselves, so the sense of isolation and abandonment is profound. At the end of the movie, one of the characters comes to the conclusion that the only place where he even feels "normal" anymore is back in Iraq, and he re-enlists for another tour, choosing the comfort of hell over the agony of pretending everything is okay.

    War IS hell, there's no denying it, and our amazing heroes in the Armed Forces have been living with this for years now, thankfully with steady backing and support from the rest of the country. But as the Reserve Components of our military are increasingly taking on a heavier and heavier burden of the war effort, I think we will start to see the effects of just how hard things for our soldiers over there are becoming. As the people coming home from war are not returning to duty at military bases, but are coming back home to their former civilian communities, civilian lives and jobs, increasingly the effects the war has on its participants will be something that will be harder and harder to ignore.
  • mighty_sam7629 January 2007
    10/10
    killing in the name of freedom and democracy.......
    i wonder why people don't like this movie? Obviously, they have never lived a war. All they stick to, is the heroism and patriotism, as seen in Hollywood. Well, i'm telling you this: i'm from lebanon, and i lived all the wars possible. So, i guess i know what i'm talking about, more then someone who's just seen too much TV.

    war is business: you just do it to get your hands on oil, sell weapons and arms, even sell plastic hands and legs . SELL HUMAN SPARE PARTS!!!! in the movie, they suggested she could buy a plastic hand for 21 000 $.

    Funny thing is that soldiers are dying just to defend the business of their leaders. And what's more hypocrite is that everything is apparently done in the name of democracy and freedom. Great movie. 10/10
  • crazymikejj8 January 2008
    4/10
    Pure Propaganda
    This movie was OK from an entertainment standpoint but breaking it down further reveals it to be nothing more than pure propaganda. The four individual stories just seemed out of touch of reality. Wars do suck and soldiers are injured and maimed for life. However, there are a great many of us (I am in the military) that do come back and lead extremely productive lives, just as we did before we left. Why this movie had to take all four experiences and make them negative is beyond me. There are so many cases of men and women coming back who are able to deal with what they experienced. This movie made it seem as if everyone coming back from war is either screwed up psychologically, becomes violent or a drunkard or has to deal with life missing a limb. Furthermore, why was 50 cent in this movie? The clown can't even speak English. He has absolutely no talent when it comes to acting, and when it comes to music for that matter. Jessica Biel was bland and her acting was simply unbelievable. The only bright spot was from Samuel L. Jackson.
  • jdesando11 December 2006
    I don't think so . . .
    A better title would be "Home of the Made-for-TV Movie"--You'd have to be from the "home of the brave film critics" to sit trough this laundry list of post-traumatic syndrome clichés. Three Iraq veterans return to face a civilian world that doesn't understand and personal demons that won't let them forget the ungodly carnage they lived through. But nothing is new or unique, no dialogue is incisive, no action is memorable.

    The film does remind us about how unfair the whole Iraq invasion is to the soldier, who not only must suffer the damages to limb, life, and psyche but must also face a hostile electorate which carries little of the respect and patriotism that welcomed soldiers back from WWII. In this way, director Irwin Winkler achieved a success: He catalogued the suffering of the returning soldier, be he a surgeon experiencing the horror of failure to heal or a female grunt losing a hand and learning to live with the clumsiness.

    A work of art should be unique in some way, often in its vision of its subject. Home of the Brave says nothing new to a populace awaiting insights into a war that still makes no sense. In that regard both fictional soldiers and real audiences remain largely clueless about the Iraq dilemma. Perhaps President Bush could help—I don't think so.
  • irock722 November 2007
    1/10
    Don't even rent this movie, wait for it to air on the Lifetime channel
    I've seen a lot of bad "war" movies over the years, but this one takes the cake. I was surprised at how awful this movie ended up being with such a star-studded cast. Sam Jackson, Jessica Beil, Christina Ricci, what happened? Hands down, this movie contained the worst character acting I have ever scene. It was like watching an "80's" after school special. Only instead of teen pregnancy or drugs, it was about the Iraq war. Thankfully there was no political horn-blowing in the movie, but then again, there wasn't any plot either. Whoever wrote this film really missed the mark on reality. Next time, get a real military veteran to review the storyline before releasing such a piece of crap.
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