The Good Soldier (2010)

by | Dec 29, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Good Soldier (2010)

Documentary (as excerpted on Bill Moyers Journal) as well as theatrical showings
Directors: Lexy Lovell & Michael Uys
Studio: Lexy Lovell & Michael Uys/NeoFlix [Release date: 1/12/10]
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: PCM Stereo
Length: 79:30
Rating: *****

This stark and straightforward documentary poses a most timely question with the U.S. having committed to sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan: What makes a good soldier?  The answer is: the ability to kill other humans.

The film follows the lives of five combat veterans from different American wars: WWII, Vietnam, The Gulf War, and Iraq. The vets tell us of their struggles with what it means to be a good soldier and how it relates to their duty and humanity. The awfulness of their combat experiences is illustrated with actual footage from the various wars. Some speak of how being wounded destroyed their self-image – they felt a failure. Some grew an intense revenge due to loosing buddies, and deliberately killed civilians. Others buried the enormity of their actions and only years later had to deal with the fallout.

Each of the five vets develop the courage to confront their actions and begin a process of healing. They are all active in various veterans against war groups. At the conclusion an on-screen description of their backgrounds and the present activities of all five is displayed. Music on the soundtrack of the film features songs by Nine Inch Nails, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Bill Broonzy, Edwin Starr, and JJ Grey & Mofro. It’s a most effective and moving documentary, will be seen as part of a national program of screenings at many colleges and high schools starting in April. [See also the CD review of An American Soldier’s Story.]

– John Sunier

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