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fshagan-1

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Compelling story and breakout performances, 13 October 2012
10/10

This movie hits the right note with both a compelling story and interesting characters. Writer, director and lead actor Martin Papazian's film packs an emotional punch without being maudlin or making you feel like your emotions have been manipulated.

The story is focused on the young war veteran, but doesn't stray into larger political issues. I found that refreshing in this political season. Instead, this is an intimate portrayal of human struggle, and Papazian imbues the lead character Anthony Hayward with the right level of emotion. Papazian has one of two breakout performances in the film. For me, the best films are those that show believable character development, and Papazian's portrayal is immensely satisfying.

The other performance I loved was by Tristan Lake Leabu who plays 10 year old Wade, Hayward's next door neighbor. I'm convinced Tristan is headed for a stellar career. There's a lot of emotion in his role, and a lesser actor would have over played it. You can see pain, a sense of isolation, and fear in his eyes.

The intimate feel of this film was enhanced by director of photography Guy Skinner and his hand-held camera work, known to most of us from his work on the TV series "24".

At the premier in Santa Monica, Martin Papazian said the story is a composite of experiences told to him by war vets. He listened.

Independent films often don't get noticed because of limited distribution. Moviegoers don't know if a film is worth driving to. If you get a chance, see this film.