A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.
As laudable as that intent is, I'm still left wondering how representative the film is of what we would now term "post-traumatic stress syndrome". For example, we know the scenes weren't staged, but we don't know how much editing went into the final cut. Nothing is said about editing in the prologue, and savvy viewers know how important editing is to creating desired effect. Then too, I'm wondering whether there was pre-sorting of vets according to severity such that we only viewed the mildest, most remedial, cases. For example, the one session of hypnosis and regression appears a quick and easy cure. It's good that some cases are open to such efficient methods, but, again, how representative is this one case. Moreover, as another reviewer points out, nothing is said about possibility of relapse, even among the mild cases.
My point is that we shouldn't draw general conclusions about this terrible affliction from one documentary that may have been geared toward another purpose. The fact that the army withheld release for 30 years shows how wary they became to exposing the public to even this most optimistic rendering of the problem. Those early scenes of afflicted men are simply too wrenchingly real to be forgotten, and should serve as a reminder the next time our politicians start beating the now incessant drum of war. Perhaps that's why the film was withheld for so long.
- Jun 12, 2010