Documentary Review: THE GOOD SOLDIER
The Good Soldier is a powerful documentary in which filmmakers Lexi Lovell and Michael Uys present a cadre of highly decorated soldiers who’d fought valiantly in America’s wars — World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq — and, in doing so, came to the conclusion that warfare is neither a righteous nor effective way to resolve differences of opinion, ideology and/or national interests.
Characters With A Clear Sense of Mission
As Chief Warrant Officer Perry Parks, who flew helicopter combat missions in Vietnam, says, “A young person who is considering a life in the military needs to know that it is not just the job, the education, the travel – the glorious parts they show you. Your real bare bones job is to go out and kill people. Every man is an infantryman. Every soldier’s priority is to conduct the war.”
Taking it further, Captain Michael McPhearson, who grew up on Fort Bragg, changed his mind about the military after fighting in the Gulf War.
“Soldiers serve the public; they serve our society. I am saying do with me what you will. I am giving you my mind and my body. When I go to war, my body can be broken, my mind can be broken, or I don’t come back. I give you permission to do this. I swear to uphold the Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights. It is a generally just document. When leaders break that, then I believe a soldier has the right to break their agreement.”
Veterans for Peace
McPhearson, resigned his commission and has become the Executive Director of Veterans for Peace. He now faces the anguish of having a son in the military. “I also believe that a soldier has a right to decide they don’t want to kill anybody anymore. They have a right to break that too, because I have to live with taking somebody’s life. You don’t,” he says in the film.
This profoundly provocative film has the potential to change society’s attitude towards and acceptance of war. It is extremely important that it be seen as widely as possible. The Good Soldier has been picked up for distribution by Artistic License, so look for its theatrical release in the near future. It’s a beautifully crafted and extremely important film.
The Good Soldier released theatrically in 2009. It is now available on DVD and online.
Title: The Good Soldier
Directors: Lexi Lovell and Michael Uys
Release Date: November 11, 2009
Running Time: 80 mins.
Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
Country: USA, various cities
Company: Artistic License