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The Ground Truth (R)





Release Date: September 15th, 2006 (Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Focus Features.
DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006.
Directed by Patricia Foulkrod.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the physical and psychological impact of the war in Iraq on American soldiers.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Ground Truth treads the same territory as The War Tapes, yet it still manages to be thoroughly fascinating and provocative. Soldiers describe in detail the horrors that they experienced back in Iraq and how it has changed them in imaginable ways. Not surprisingly, the military brainwashes them to kill without feeling any remorse toward the enemy. The many interviews raise compelling questions and with equally compelling answers. Itís all about revenge and bloodshed, even of innocent victims, but at what cost? Director Patricia Foulkrod does an excellent job of humanizing the soldiers through personal interviews where they speak their mind straight into the camera. One soldier lost part of his arm while another got badly burned on his face. But each and every soldier suffers from one ailment that the military fails to recognize as a serious problem: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It would have been interesting to explore precisely how their loved ones help them to overcome their PTSD and return to somewhat of a stable, tranquil lifestyle. Nonetheless, itís still engaging and powerful to watch and to listen to the soldiers share their experiences and thoughts about the war.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: War is hell. Everyone knows that. But whatís truly alarming is that the soldiers come into the military feeling patriotic and proud to become stronger, but leave the military with sadness, confusion and regret. What the ignorant government fails to notice is that the soldiersí mental wounds are much more difficult to heal than physical wounds. After all, these are human beings with feelings, not machines! Itís even sadder that many soldiers commit suicide after their service and even during their service. Foulkrod doesnít preach for there to be peace rather than waróthatís too much to ask for from the human race. What she wants is for the military to be honest by better informing soldiers of what they are actually getting into before they get into it. In other words, they should be informed that they might die, lose limbs and even lose their mind after the service. As one soldier poignantly states, he never felt like a hero for one second while in the military. Basically, Foulkrod debunks the slogan of the army ďBe All That You Can BeĒ which not only sounds stupid and corny, but itís actually a lie just like many other advertisements. This documentary, on the other hand, represents the truth. After watching this film, you'll realize an inconvenient yet important truth: sending your son or daughter to military service is in many ways like a death sentence because when they come back home, they will never be exactly the same person, in spirit, as they were when you said goodbye to them.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0

IN A NUTSHELL: A compelling, poignant, and insightful documentary.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)


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