Saturday, June 13, 2015


Directed By: Neil Burger 
Written By: Neil Burger & Dirk Wittenborn 
Cinematography By: Declan Quinn 
Editor: Naomi Gerghty 

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Michael Pena, Tim Robbins, Molly Hagan, Arden Myrin, John Heard, John Diehl, Katherine LaNasa

The story revolves around three soldiers - Colee, TK and Cheever - who return from the war after suffering injuries and learn that life has moved on without them. They end up on an unexpected road trip across the U.S., with Colee on a mission to bring her boyfriend's guitar back to his family because he saved her life, TK seeking confidence to face his wife after a shrapnel injury that threatens his sexual function and middle-aged Cheever planning to hit the casinos in a desperate effort to pay for his son's college tuition.

This is a likable enough movie with an ambiguous ending.

It's a crowd pleaser in parts that kind of feels like a hallmark tv-movie about enlisted soldiers on leave taking a road trip. The three soldiers didn't know each other previously, but through certain circumstances they end up on this trip together. Each with a different goal.

This film is pure middle of the road. It's a story that uses the war to set up certain situations and create character arcs.

The film is still entertaining though the actors on it are far too good and well known for the film. Don't get me wrong the actors are good, but I think the film would have made more of an emotional impact if the characters were played by less recognizable actors, because though believable there is still that little crutch of knowing these are stats playing at playing these characters.

Each character in their own way gets their fantasy granted until reality comes into the equation to distort it.

Now having said that Rachel McAdams and Michael Pena are lining up very respectable resumes this Is Michael Pena's third Iraq war themed film (WORLD TRADE CENTER, LIONS FOR LAMBS) he really shows his range with this role and is Definitely an actor to look out for in the future he has the charm, charisma and depth. He is also just likeable.

Rachel McAdams if you haven't noticed by now has that star quality written all over her, but luckily she is choosing her roles wisely. We are better for it, because she is doing amazing and sweet character work It just seems that she stays in the romantic genre a bit too much. I like how the actors Careers at the point of the making of the film matches the characters career arc in the armed forces. Two up and comers and a true veteran.

The film just feels like it is filled with too much coincidences. Though it leads to many scenes of more obvious humor that feels like hijinks and then more sly and ironic humor. Like how Colee talks of how T.K. and his fiancée should experiment sexually, 'by having another man with her while T.K. watches'. Later on in the film, Cheaver (accidentally) puts himself in exactly that position (having sex with a woman just as her husband enters the room).

This is a definite rental. It's a good one.

Though it does play like more of a great start to a series.

I enjoyed this film more than the directors previous film THE ILLUSIONIST. And his films since DIVERGENT and LIMITLESS, This one was loose and not as stylized. This film also Actually has more of a sense of humor then expected while disastrous things are happening. That help ground the film full of drama, but feels more like a Docu-Drama.It’s a nice down home change of pace for the director. That feels more like a passion project. Though like those films they feel magical and offer plenty of surprises.

The Offbeat nature makes you really like and enjoy the characters. Whereas the premise makes you feel for them

Grade: B-

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