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  • Hooman Razavi

Battle Scars - Man Done...

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

By: Hooman Razavi

"The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America." Martin Luter King had an insight into the far-reaching impact of war, unpopular at home, and blundered strategically. Battle Scars depicts a slice of that bygone reality and its lingering effects on individuals, families, and broader American society. Samuel Gonzalez Jr., who edited and directed the film, attempted once again to bring to spotlight the struggles of veterans as Mickey and how they deal with post-traumatic stress, almost a sequel to Railway Spine(2016).

The plot is simple and a journey into the main protagonist's life and downfall. Mickey (Kit Lang) is a typical American 1950s generation boy. He has all he needs, a supportive mother, high school sweetheart, and pals that he grew up. The camera establishes these peaceful and normalized elements with three shots and almost static shots. Then he and the other two friends-Vinny (Arturo Castro) and Tommy (Illiya Konstantin) are called to a draft, and what precipitate is conceivable to predict. He loses friends to war, and worst he gradually loses his insanity when his back. The Mickey depicted is typical of many who came back and got rejected of who they were, the value they hold, and could not recover the war's trauma. The film is apt to show these tragic stories through the point of view of Mickey. The dialogues and monologues stick to minds. One might say they are outdated, but they still resonate with those soft and hard American pacifists who abhor wars for what it intends to prevent but what it inflicts on the collective psyche. In the same vein, the camera angles and cinematography builds the tension decently. The scene colors get dimmer, and the focus and angle more personal. Surreal and dream shots are also interspersed. Mickey wants to avoid the hellish world, and moral nihilism, and viewers can see those short mental episodes craftily.

Interestingly, the plot leaves elements of hope. The love and care Jane( Emily Trosclair) hold is sincere and not exaggerated. The compass carries the emblem and weight of family support, though almost non-existent. Friendships and even transitory ones depict that some may understand Mickey's ordeal. Mickey's son is also a beacon of hope, a new generation who keeps the lost memories and values the sacrifice as much as contested. Mickey as 24 million Americans who have PTSD and 300,00 veterans who live in Shelters are forgotten, but at least there is a camera and conscious filmmakers who narrate their stories to ensure another generation of scared souls are not debased and go unnoticed. Overall, Battle Scars could be viewed as a typical American anti-war film that understands cinema's power and camera not to open old wounds but to reflect on the lives of those who got drafted, fought, but turned to social zombies afterward. Acting, music, characterizations, and cinematic features mentioned worked in tandem to depict the real Battle Scars.

Grade: B+


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