GoodSoldier1An anti-war documentary with an unabashed liberal tilt, The Good Soldier uses vignettes of multiple combat veterans—spanning several battles, from as far back as Vietnam through the current Iraq & Afghanistan wars—to push a simple message: our Government takes advantage of young minds, training them to believe that any fight America sends her soldiers to must be for an unquestionably worthy cause. The reality, of course, is quite different—every war has countless layers to it—and co-directors Michael Uys & Lexy Lovell select a nice range of retired warriors to illustrate how approaches and beliefs can change over time, both through basic maturation and through the horrors of the battlefield. Particularly touching is the story of Will Williams, a two-tour Vietnam Vet who gradually evolved from blind Patriot—he enlisted for a second term because he was so angry at anti-war protesters that he wanted to go back so he could kill legally—to a soulful family man who now fights passionately for peace. Unfortunately, The Good Soldier is hamstrung by its one-note manner of pigeonholing all wars into a corner: while there are arguments, and frequently good ones, to be made against all of our recent foreign endeavors, lumping the Gulf War in with Iraq in terms of the overarching themes doesn’t feel particularly appropriate. It would have been nice to have seen the story of a (wo)man who felt compelled to fight for diplomacy, yet still believed that the war he or she fought in was worth the heavy costs. Without any counterweights, The Good Soldier is a pretty limited work predominantly designed for those on the Far Left. Still, the humane portrayals make it worthwhile, if unspectacular, viewing.

57/100