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2 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Ground Truth, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"No one hates war more than the warrior."
5 stars

In Patricia Foulkrod's sobering documentary 'The Ground Truth,' men and women who served in the Iraq war want you to know that they didn't serve honorably. Further, they want you to know that there's very little chance of anyone serving honorably in a dishonorable war, in a dishonorable military system.

Most importantly, they just want you to know. The movie could be said to be one-sided a pamphlet for veterans against war (we see a number of Vietnam vets as well). But Foulkrod begins the movie with a montage showing the allure, and then the relentless brainwashing, of the military. Commercials make it all look exciting, a terrific training/proving ground for the young (especially the urban poor young). The Ground Truth, in part, counteracts the propaganda with its own. There are probably Iraq War vets who come home with no physical or psychological complaints. They're not in this movie, which focuses on the cost of not just this war but of any war.

Foulkrod front-loads her film with a sort of nonfiction reiteration of the point Full Metal Jacket made so brilliantly that the overriding function of the military is to kill, and so military training dehumanizes the recruits by necessity. David Grossman (On Killing) points out in the film that the hardware used in combat is more or less the same, but the software the mentality that pulls the trigger has changed radically over the years. The military has got it down to a science; as technology has advanced, so have the ways in which men and women can be conditioned to kill without hesitation or remorse.

The remorse, however, comes later. The Ground Truth is filled with anecdotes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ranging from "intrusive thoughts" to flashbacks to outright violence. Once the brain is wired to kill or be killed, it's awfully hard to rewire it after it returns stateside. The vets are also decaying inside from the horrors they saw or participated in. We hear from parents of a vet who hanged himself after coming home his misery had reached such a pitch that he had no other option. According to the movie, there are distressingly few options, and the military makes it almost impossible to access any of them. A soldier can't be allowed to be diagnosed with PTSD he or she must have had a pre-existing personality disorder.

Meanwhile, we're still not allowed to see the coffins coming home, our president still has yet to attend a single funeral to pay respects to the fallen of his war of aggression, and we hear bloodless stats of "two soldiers wounded" without seeing the extent of the wounds the blasted-off limbs, the ruined lives. The Ground Truth fixes that with a vengeance. One veteran in the film barely has a face left melted, scarred, no nose to speak of. He talks about wanting to make sure no other prospective soldier has to go through what he's gone through.

Maybe if there were one of him to stand outside every military recruiting center in the country and show his mutilated face as the true face of war, there wouldn't be so many recruits. The scary thought arises that, at the rate this war is going, maybe there WILL be one of him for every recruiting center in the country.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13586&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/25/07 21:50:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Boston Film Festival For more in the 2006 Boston Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/09/11 brian Amazingly, some of these kids didn't seem to know they'd be killing people. No revelations. 3 stars
11/14/06 William Goss Runs in circles for first half, proves more interesting with vets at home. 3 stars
9/24/06 GUY GIBEAU see the film and then tell others.what a great job 5 stars
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  15-Sep-2006 (R)
  DVD: 26-Sep-2006



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