‘Mending the Line’ Review: In a Moving Drama, Brian Cox and Sinqua Walls Are War Veterans Who Help Each Other Heal | instastori.com

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Combat veterans, famously, don’t thin to talk much, if astatine all, astir their experiences of war. At slightest not to civilians, and possibly not moreover to their closest relatives. Knowing this, those of america who aren’t veterans thin to person ideas astir nan things they aren’t discussing. Things for illustration unit and fearfulness and nan chaos and insanity of battle. That’s surely a portion of it, but successful a measurement it’s besides nan heightened cinematic version, nan 1 we’ve each gotten from warfare movies. What it leaves retired are nan torn-up emotions of soldiers, nan lifelong imprint near upon them not conscionable by nan cataclysm of warfare but by their narration pinch their chap soldiers — nan loyalty and love, nan analyzable codification of liberation and guilt astatine having survived.   

“Mending nan Line” is simply a play astir 2 veterans and their narration to nan combat experience, and nan movie, which is besides astir alert sportfishing (in that metaphysical Zen-of-the-outdoors way), has a deceptively placid aboveground and a turbulent undertow that catches up to you. The cardinal characters are some Marines, scarred and defined by nan combat they’ve been in. When we first spot John Colter (Sinqua Walls), he’s starring his platoon connected their last time of deployment successful Afghanistan — but, of course, that “routine” time of recon doesn’t spell well. It’s an ambush from hell.

Cut to 3 months later. John has survived and is backmost successful nan U.S., wherever he has been sent to respective rehab centers, starting pinch Walter Reed and, now, nan V.A. Medical Center successful Livingston, Montana. His beingness injuries are treatment — nan scar insubstantial connected his thighs from an I.E.D., nan concussion he suffered. And nan psychological injury? John, astatine a glance, looks taut and together, but he swigs from a half-pint of whiskey each time long, and we spot his nightmares; they’re astir nan buddies he couldn’t save. As for his fury astatine nan subject bureaucracy, it’s aggravated capable to consciousness misplaced. He’s angry astatine nan group therapy he’s assigned to do, angry astatine nan trauma counsellor who has ne'er seen action, angry astatine nan constitution that’s subjecting him to endless rounds of evaluation. All he wants is to spell backmost into combat.

Ike Fletcher (Brian Cox) is simply a retired seasoned of Vietnam, a loner who doesn’t drink, cook, watch TV aliases movies, aliases meet up pinch his chap veterans. That’s really overmuch of a cut-off psyche he is. All he does is alert fish. For him, nan athletics is organized astir nan solitary rite of catching a wriggling trout and tossing nan food backmost into nan water. (It’s his measurement of deciding, each day, not to kill.)

Ike, pinch his achromatic hairsbreadth and beard, his occasional blackouts astatine nan stream (he’s not expected to beryllium sportfishing alone), seems to beryllium edging into a serene if precarious aged age. But he’s angry, too. You can’t person a Brian Cox characteristic without a residue of anger. It’s location successful his squinty J’accuse! stare, successful nan cynicism conscionable beneath nan jolliness. At nan V.A. center, Dr. Burke (Patricia Heaton) puts John and Ike together, figuring that alert sportfishing could do nan younger man bully by giving him nan therapy he needs. For a while, it’s a boot-camp-as-“Karate Kid” situation, pinch Ike forcing John to do a batch of scutwork (not to mention homework, for illustration researching nan flies astatine nan extremity of nan lines and plucking a book aliases 2 retired of nan immense panoply of fly-fishing lit — John chooses “The Sun Also Rises.”)

But past nan 2 men commencement to fish. John, aft a short while, brings on Lucy (Perry Mattfeld), a section librarian and rehab-facility volunteer, who mislaid her ain fiancé successful combat. She learns to food too. In caller years, alert sportfishing has go a celebrated shape of therapy among veterans, and for a while “Mending nan Line” encourages you to deliberation that you’re watching nan PTSD type of “A River Runs Through It.” The stream idyll doesn’t last, though. John thinks he’s getting better; he’s primed to heed nan telephone to rejoin nan war. But nan telephone ne'er comes. Sinqua Walls, pinch his quiet, stoic, avid-eyed affability, makes John a paragon of service, to nan constituent that we can’t thief but respect his courage. Yet nan movie is throwing america a curveball. Its constituent is that John can’t beryllium an effective worker if he’s excessively wounded inside.

Ike, who ne'er afloat recovered from his ain wounds of anguish (we consciousness this because he’s sewage a boy who’s estranged), understands each that. He’s sewage John’s number. And successful nan past portion of nan movie, he gives John nan connection he needs to hear, successful words delivered by Cox arsenic if they were life poesy from nan soul. Laying successful a infirmary bed, Ike tells him, “In nan book of each soldier’s life, nan subject is simply a chapter. That’s it. Some group deliberation it’s nan full book. No. It ne'er leaves you. But [whispering] it’s not, not nan full story.” “Mending nan Line,” directed by Joshua Caldwell from a book by Stephen Camelio, has a rote TV-movie look and a fewer bland and rambling passages. But it delivers a truth astir those who person served, astir nan reality of nan demons that tin linger successful them, that’s reliable and moving. The movie concludes pinch black-and-white photographs of existent veterans alert fishing, a ritual that by nan extremity we spot much intelligibly arsenic a baptism of restoration for those who gave everything.