Film: Thank You for Your Service
Cast: Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Beulah Koale, Joe Cole, Scott Haze, Brad Beyer, Amy Schumer
Director: Jason Hall
Rating: * * * *
War is hell. Based on real life events covered by David Finkel in a nonfiction book, this dramatic film addresses the post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) of American soldiers fighting far from home, and the lack of support from the US government and military on their return.
Writer-director Jason Hall takes up the stories of veterans of the Iraq War in 2007 as they struggle to survive and reconcile living in an America which doesn’t seem to care for their sacrifices. Enlisting to serve had given these young men a sense of purpose, as Sgt Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) puts it.
The army saved me, Tausolo Aeiti (Beulah Kole) says time and again before he descends into drugs and crime. Guilt is the predominant feeling for Schumann after he returns to his wife (Haley Bennett) and two small children in Kansas from the killing fields of Iraq.
Schumann holds himself responsible for the death of fellow soldier James Doster (Brad Beyer), and the criticalwounding of Michael Emory (Scott Haze) (one of the most shocking, tense sequences in the film.) Director Hall (screenwriter of American Sniper resorts to unusual casting in comedian Amy Schumer who does a good job as Doster’s widow, Amanda.
You don’t have to be American to feel pity and compassion for the wounded warriors as they run the gauntlet of nightmares, rage, hallucinations, depression and memory loss. The enemy then is not just indifference and apathy. The enemy is also within. Thank You For Your Service makes for an intense, riveting watch.