If I Were To Speak of War
Because it is a movie with a strong message about war, violence, and family, 'If I Were To Speak Of War' questions the very concepts for which people fought in the Iraq War. This short presents the effects that prolonged exposure to a combat lifestyle can have on the human mind.
Jim tries to find his refuge in taking up a new hobby: fishing while cracking open a cold beer. This seems to work to some extent. However, when he goes back home, all the atrocities of the war he has witnessed on foreign territory seem to flood back stronger than ever. Case in point, when his wife tries talking to him, he is rather absent and stares into the void. The audience observes the fact that he can barely hear what his spouse is saying to him because his mind is preoccupied with something much more important.
The dialogue is pretty standard, but there are a few noteworthy lines in the script. The exchanges between Sean and the therapist are particularly entertaining. Nevertheless, Sean seems to be a little too irritated by the session. And we can see why: the counselor has no military experience, yet he seems to speak from a moral high ground. His psychology diploma means nothing to the soldier who saw and dealt with much more horrible situations than exams and oral presentations.
Sean’s frustration comes from something even more insulting to him. The lack of respect he feels when he hears people talking about the Iraq War as “the war that was a mistake.”. There are many political pundits who might agree with that assertion, but to Sean, that doesn’t matter. 'To hell with experts’ opinions. You mean I almost risked my life for nothing, for a mistake?' Who wouldn’t be pissed to hear something like that?
The plot is quite fluid and none of the scenes interrupt the audience’s suspension of disbelief. However, some of the character interactions seem forced in some scenes, but that may be because of the general uneasiness everybody feels during Sean’s confrontation with the therapist. The general atmosphere of tension and anxiety does not really end even after the anger management session. That’s because post-traumatic stress disorder is a continuous battle in and of itself. The films central themes are bravery, solidarity between soldiers and understanding your fellow colleague.
From a technical point of view, the movie is pretty solid. The camera work is on point, even though some angles should seem a bit too rigid for the action. Trying a bit more movement with the camera instead of fixing it on the tripod might work towards improving the flow of the scenes.
The story has a real feel to it, which might indicate that it was written by someone with a military background or at least, someone who is very passionate about the army and the movies of this genre. One could go as far as to say that it might remind them of Clint Eastwood’s movie 'American Sniper'.