Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, July 14:
Telluride Mountainfilm 2016
Human Rights Watch NYC, AFI Docs, Wisconsin, Waimea Ocean Film Festival, SF Docfest, GI Film Festival
Two suffering veterans cross the country by foot in an attempt to combat the persistent after-effects of war.
Like many veterans, Tom and Anthony returned from several tours of duty as changed men. Suffering from hyper-vigilance, depression, suicidal ideation, and with relationships with loved ones strained, they seem like textbook PTSD cases. But when conventional treatments and self-administered band-aids – prescription drugs and alcohol – yielding little relief, the friends set out on a 2700 mile walking trek across the country to draw attention to the plight of veterans like them. While this element of Collins’ film offers viewers the opportunity to consider the alarming suicide rates among vets, and to meet fellow soldiers and families touched by combat along the pair’s journey, their odyssey itself doesn’t seem to yield much insight. Instead, their exploration of the concept of “moral injury” – distinct from PTSD as it directly addresses the guilt experienced by soldiers for violating entrenched moral codes against killing – seems the real key to their healing. Unfortunately, because the therapy sessions that go to the heart of this reckoning were not allowed to be filmed, their impact is somewhat lessened here. Regardless, both men surprisingly emerge from their pilgrimage and therapy transformed, able to communicate better with their loved ones, and seemingly more at peace than they’d been for several years, making for an uplifting, hopeful film that may very well help others.