Here’s to another kind of war movie review.
I’m not a fan of spoiling movies for those who haven’t seen it so I’ll do my best not to. In Man Down Shia Labeouf plays a solider who ends up with PTSD. I don’t cry very often when it comes to movies but this one made me shed a few tears. Not because of the movie itself but because I feel like I finally had some insight into what my dad felt. I can never actually feel the things he did but I think I understand him and his reactions more. Just sucks that he’s not here for me to tell him that.
The movie is divided into 3 different parts. At first it’s a little hard to tell what’s going on and when since it gives no real indication of the change. It takes time but eventually you’ll get the order of things. One part of the movie shows how Gabriel (Shia’s character) lived and acted before he experienced something traumatic over seas. He was just an ordinary man doing ordinary things. The second part shows what happened to cause PTSD as well as being interviewed or interrogated (depending on how you see it) by an officer to find out what exactly happened, how it happened and if it was on purpose.
The 3rd part is a bit of a spoiler since the movie doesn’t indicate what’s going on until much later. So if you want to see for yourself instead of reading here skip the next paragraph.
The 3rd part at first is a little confusing. You see Gabriel with his long time friend in what looks like a completely deserted and at some point bombed city. The scene is dark and gloomy almost chaotic. Gabriel seems confused and becomes more hostile as he frantically searches for his family. This scene becomes more important throughout the movie since you eventually find out that it’s all in his mind. But to him, it’s real life. What he acts out in this scene he does in real life. He just doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and not at this point. Toward the very end of the movie he snaps out of it even though it’s a bit too late to undo the damage that has been done.
I’ve never seen a movie portray PTSD like this one does. I know having PTSD isn’t something we can really understand unless we have it ourselves but watching this movie (I think) can help a lot more people understand it better. There’s such a stigma around mental health. As I’ve read before a lot of people think it’s just something everyone can “get over” quickly. People don’t like things they can’t understand and that’s probably the biggest problem. This movie brings awareness to the lack of support our soldiers are receiving; how they are being asked to risk their life, take another life then when it’s all over they get thrown back into this world with no tools to help them cope. This needs to change. We need to be that change.