Sure, it’s earnest — sure, it’s melodramatic. Yup, it’s just barely this side of being a made-for-Lifetime TV soaper. But there’s a mesmerizing power to this little film that comes from its sheer un-told-ness, from its right-now immediacy. There’s none of the irony or sarcasm of, say, M*A*S*H — we’re still too close to this to joke about it. There’s none of the flag-waving of, say, Flags of Our Fathers — we’ve yet to hear a convincing argument for the sacrifice of our soldiers, one that would allow for the balm of patriotism to soothe the grief or the anger over lost lives. Here is simply the urgent certainty of what soliders returning from Iraq are dealing with here and now.
[L]istening to the pain — physical, emotional, psychological — of all these soldiers, male and female alike, must make any sensitive person reconsider, yet again, what a sick joke the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has been. (The footage from Iraq, some shot by U.S. forces, some by insurgents, of roadside bombs and other random attacks only reinforce the notion that this is not a “war” the American military is equipped to fight, nor is it one it should be fighting.) For what, precisely, have these decent and patriotic citizens given their bodies and minds and hearts?
• Meet the Robinsons [buy it]. This wacky and warm flick about the wonder of imagination and the power of family is one of the best Disney toons in years.
• Fido [buy it]. Could 1950s-style conformity tame even the horrors of the zombie apocalypse? Of course it could!
Serial killers are people too, with hopes and dreams and loving spouses and kids who drive them crazy. That’s the repulsive theme of this revolting film, which flirts briefly with satire and dark comedy before landing squarely in the realm of made-for-TV melodrama about the challenges and the rewards of balancing career, marriage, parenthood, and a serious avocation for vicious, coldblooded murder.