Home of the Brave

Patricia Foulkrod's documentary The Ground Truth covers the experience of returning Iraq War vets better than this powerful but flawed Hollywood drama by first-time screenwriter Mark Friedman. The story is inexpertly patterned after William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), with Samuel Jackson as a surgeon and family man who grows increasingly erratic and violent, Brian Presley as a soldier clashing with his callous father, and Jessica Biel in a stunning performance as a woman returning to her child and lover with a man's prosthetic arm. Director Irwin Winkler (Guilty by Suspicion, De-Lovely) delivers some sharp, honest moments, but his sloppiness is evident in the weak supporting performances and badly dressed sets. This is a brave effort for Hollywood, but the topic demands more. R, 105 min.

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