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At the end of their tour of duty in Afghanistan, two young military women, Aurore and Marine, are given three days of decompression leave with their unit at a five-star resort in Cyprus, among tourists. But it's not that easy to forget the war and leave the violence behind.Written by
Commendable attempt to show how PTSS can haunt soldiers afterwards, but failed halfway by changing the dramatic line to things happening with men and women anywhere
This movie intends to give us some insight in the problems faced by soldiers when returning from the battle field, augmented with the modern trend to use virtual reality to support healing from PTSS and related aftermath. The first half of the movie did a good job in this respect, by demonstrating that decisions on the battle field that were deemed good or at least optimal given the circumstances, can conversely be considered bad by others, for good reasons in hindsight. Of course, one can argue whether the group therapy setup works well. We see and hear several of them keeping up appearances. Other issues crept in, like venting that women are not suitable in any battle situation.
The second half of the film, a road trip outside the hotel, was triggered by an invitation towards the two main woman protagonists, originally intended to visit the neighboring village and take part in some festivities there. We were shown an obvious cliff hanger when we saw a rifle covered under a blanket in the car trunk of the two men who initiated the excursion. A second cliff hanger was visiting a border crossing point and telling about the dangers on the other side. From this point on, the story could go anywhere. But nothing along those lines happened. Finally, they reached the village and mingled more or less with the locals, thereby consuming lots of alcohol. What happened during and after the village festivities deviates from the central theme. It's a pity. All of it could happen everywhere and anytime when man and women get drunk and have differences in expectations how the trip should end. I consider it a missed chance, and would have preferred to keep focused on PTSS and other army related issues.
All in all, I'm left with mixed feelings about this movie. The message it tries to bring is commendable. Most of the soldiers we saw are believable and sufficiently diverse in character and background. In other words, the collection we encounter seems a realistic cross section. The fact that some of them did not have another life outside the army, seeing no other job prospects in the near future, may be deemed worrisome but seems realistic too. A problem in the plot line arises by continuously hinting that a dramatic, or even deadly, ending is bound to follow. Alas, it never worked out to turn into a real fatal drama, by eventually confining itself to a "normal" men versus women difference in expectations, something that could happen in conclusion of an evening out anywhere, inside or outside the army. Yet, not all is lost, due to the first half of the movie, that shows us how PTSS may come about, and how reliving past events on the battle field can become a burden lasting for many years thereafter.
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