17 October 2010 | jamiebrown
Potentially groundbreaking treatment of Iraq war and related issues
This is an incredibly ambitious new UK film, a debut feature from Scottish director Brian Welsh. Suzy (Joanne Froggatt) is a British soldier returning from Iraq to her family home on a Middlesbrough council estate. Deeply affected by the atrocities she has witnessed, Suzy is unable to reconnect with her daughter (Chloe-Jane Wilkinson) and husband (Mel Raido), also a serviceman struggling to adjust, and prone to insecurity and violent outbursts.
Focusing mainly on the issue of soldiers trying to adapt to civilian life after serving on the front line, and the effects on this of posttraumatic stress disorder, the film also tackles the morality of war, the lack of support from the system for those returning from service, racial tensions in diverse communities, and even inner city crime and poverty. The most noticeable thing however, is perhaps an issue the film is not drawn on, and that is Britain's involvement in Iraq. It's a brave, calculated move and it pays off. With so much anti-war polemic material around, the film gains some originality by refusing to commit itself to a condemnation.
Braver still though is the decision to make the central character a female soldier, and it's this that raises the film from refreshing to potentially ground-breaking. Cinema has been lacking in serious modern takes on the after-effects of war; to do so from a female perspective is unique to my knowledge. Froggatt's performance in her first major film role is incredible, and when you consider that it's a role for which there can be very little precedent her achievement is even more impressive.
Much of the cast will be familiar in the UK, with many popular TV credits between them. Froggatt herself is arguably best known for her role as John Simm's young mother in the time-travelling police drama Life on Mars. Her performance in In Our Name deserves to change that.