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NOW SHOWING: Thank You for Your Service (2017)

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  • NOW SHOWING: Thank You for Your Service (2017)



    “Thank You for Your Service” is the newest war movie to examine PTSD. It is based on the nonfiction book by journalist David Finkel. Finkel’s book was a sequel to his “The Good Soldiers” in which he wrote about the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment’s deployment in Iraq in 2007-8. The sequel deals with the readjustment of the men to life back in America. It is telling that Hollywood decided to make a movie out of that book instead of his book about combat deployment during the Surge. I suppose there is more drama in PTSD than in combat. The movie was directed and written by Jason Hall. He had written the Academy Award nominated script for “American Sniper”. This movie is his directorial debut.

    The movie opens with the spongy “Inspired by a true story”. A squad gets ambushed in an Iraqi city. One of the men is shot in the head by a sniper. Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) drops the body on his way down the stairs. That’s got to have a lasting mental effect. The unit is returned home not long after the incident. Schumann’s weapon is checked in by a soldier played by the real Schumann in a cameo. He is confronted by a war widow (Amy Schumer) who wants to know the circumstances of her husband’s death. Apparently Schumann is going to be tormented by two deaths. The movie focuses on the adjustment of three soldiers. Schumann is readjusting to life with his wife Saskia (Haily Bennett) and young daughter. They are financially challenged and have lost their house. His best buddies are Specialist Tausolo “Solo” Aieti (Beulah Koale) and PFC Billy Walker (Joe Cole). Solo is married without kids. Billy is expecting to get married, but his fiancé is not home when he gets there. Their arcs will intertwine.

    Solo is suffering from memory loss. Schumann is suffering from the inability to communicate that he is torn up by the two incidents. They visit the Veterans Hospital in a scene that is mandatory for showing the lack of empathy of the System. Most of the extras waiting interminably in the waiting area are actual veterans. I’m sure they did not have to be instructed how to act in the situation. Solo will have to wait 6-9 months to see a psychiatrist. To add insult to injury, Schumann ex-CO basically calls him a pussy for being there. “Don’t fold like this.” This is a tipping point for Adam and Solo. Each takes a typical PTSD Hollywood path. One will have to confront his demons and the other will get in bed with demons.

    “Thank You for Your Service” is a sincere effort to cover the effects of PTSD on veterans. It does not break new ground on this topic, but it is entertaining and I will assume not everyone has seen numerous movies on this topic. If this will be your first one, you could do worse. Like “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”. Although the scenarios depicted in the movie are not really original, some of the dots that are connected are unpredictable. The movie is not heavy-handed. There is a fairly subtle use of a wounded pit bull as symbolic of wounded veterans. We are reminded of the crass treatment of vets, but not bludgeoned by it. The movie assumes the audience already knows about the flaws in the system. This movie is not “Born on the Fourth of July” or “Coming Home”. But it does make it clear we have not improved much from the Vietnam era. In an interesting discussion, Adam and Solo debate whether it is better to be wounded physically (like Ron Kovic) or mentally (like Adam and Solo). Solo argues that an amputation at least results in medals and hero status.

    The movie reminded me a little of an Afternoon Special for adults. This week’s film is on PTSD. Three besties deal with the stress of war and readjusting to their families. The movie has the pat ending of one of those specials, but it is definitely a worthy effort and just as informative. The acting is very good. Teller anchors the film as the stoically tortured Schumann. His interaction with his wife (Bennett) feels authentic, albeit deja-vuish. Koale matches him as the stereotypical vet who goes over to the dark side. You care about these comrades. You may look back at the movie and realize you had seen all of it before, but while you are watching it, you will be drawn into their story.

    GRADE = A

  • #2
    Holy crap, fellows. Has this become a PTSD bashing thread? Comparing any civilian job to fighting in the Surge in Baghdad is shaky at best. Questioning whether soldiers or Marines actually have PTSD or may be faking it is much too harsh. I would argue for giving them the benefit of the doubt. There but by the grace of God, go I.

    BTW since some of the commenters appear to have not seen the movie, the two main characters are certainly suffering from PTSD. They are clearly not faking it. They both try to hide it and only reluctantly turn to the VA for help. Schumann sees one of his mates shot in the head and then when carrying him down the stairs drops him on his head. He also is replaced on a mission by a soldier who is killed by an IED. To make matters worse, Schumann was an explosive ordnance disposal specialist who naturally felt he would have seen the IED if he had been in the humvee. He combines PTSD with survivors guilt.

    I don't mind turning my thread into a discussion comparing PTSD to battle fatigue to shell shock, but to question whether some soldiers in Iraq legitimately suffer from PTSD is uncalled for. Shame on you.

    Comment


    • #3
      can i add my review on a movie i didn't watch ?
      Seems the rule here ..
      That rug really tied the room together

      Comment


      • #4
        I've gotten where I almost cringe now when someone uses that trite line. Please say something else...

        "What service were you in?"
        "What'd you do in the military?"

        Anything but "Thank you for your service."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I've gotten where I almost cringe now when someone uses that trite line. Please say something else...

          "What service were you in?"
          "What'd you do in the military?"

          Anything but "Thank you for your service."
          No problem with it myself. Its usually sincere. Although I instantly know its another vet when I get "when were you there" or"where were you"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            I've gotten where I almost cringe now when someone uses that trite line. Please say something else...

            "What service were you in?"
            "What'd you do in the military?"

            Anything but "Thank you for your service."
            I agree. "Thank you for your service." does seem rather trite. I would even prefer: "Did you know so-and-so?" after I had told someone I had been in the Army during the Vietnam conflict.
            "I have never known a combat soldier who did not show a residue of war." --Sergeant Ed Stewart, 84th Division, US Army, WWII

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            • #7
              Waiting avidly for his possible comments on Oradour-sur-Glane..
              Enough with the thread derailment,Warmoviebuff has done ,like usual , a pretty nice and detailed review.
              That rug really tied the room together

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              • #8
                It was bad enough that my simple review of a war movie gets hijacked into a discussion of whether PTSD is a legitimate problem. But now we are discussing whether William Calley was a role model? Opinions are like a certain body part...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post
                  It was bad enough that my simple review of a war movie gets hijacked into a discussion of whether PTSD is a legitimate problem. But now we are discussing whether William Calley was a role model? Opinions are like a certain body part...
                  Everything gets turned into politics by certain posters here, Kevin.

                  Back on the OP, I haven't seen the movie but I enjoyed your review and it makes me want to see it and judge it for myself.
                  Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kevin,

                    Another great review.

                    Not sure I'm going to go see the movie, but it was great to read a synopsis of it.

                    Just want to make sure you continue your good work on ACG, despite the usual thread hijackers that seem to feel that they need to direct the conversation away from the intent of the thread.

                    Carry on with the good work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      All discussion posts about PTSD that were not directly addressing the movie reviewed by warmoviebuff have been moved to Military Medicine:

                      http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=180157

                      Please keep your comments here directly related to the movie in question.

                      Thank You

                      ACG Staff
                      Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                      Prayers.

                      BoRG

                      http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
                        Kevin,

                        Another great review.

                        Not sure I'm going to go see the movie, but it was great to read a synopsis of it.

                        Just want to make sure you continue your good work on ACG, despite the usual thread hijackers that seem to feel that they need to direct the conversation away from the intent of the thread.

                        Carry on with the good work.
                        Thanks for your support. Actually, I was not upset. I can take it. I just regret I can't respond the way I feel.

                        Comment

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