Home of the Brave brings yet another look at the Iraq war, this from the view of four veterans who survived an ambush while delivering medical supplies. Irwin Winkler directs a script by first-timer Mark Friedman, who makes some rookie mistakes, but otherwise creates a compelling drama about the after effects of war.
Jessica Biel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brian Pressley play the four veterans who lives are changed by their experiences. Each deals with their situation differently, such as Biel who learns to live with a prosthetic hand. The emotional drain takes it toll on all however, intermixing with their families and other aspects of their lives.
There are two moments that cheapen the drama. One involves a conversation between Biel and Pressley at a movie theater; the other happens between Sam Jackson and his son in a parking lot. Both feel incredibly forced, unnatural, and as if Friedman is trying to make his own views on the war known to the world. It’s the type of thing you expect from a TV movie, not something you’d watch in a theater (or in this case, on Blu-ray). Curtis Jackson also delivers some hokey lines, though it’s due to his delivery more than anything. He seems to be mumbling many of his words.
Aside from those few mistakes, Home of the Brave delivers as its supposed to. You get involved in these character’s lives, feeling emotionally attached. The film does a fine job of showing how difficult it can be to handle simple things in life after experiencing a war, such as finding work.
Home opens with a fantastic battle sequence, one that nearly eclipses the entire film. It also may send the wrong message to those unsure of what the film will provide, especially considering the terrible description on the back of the case. Still, the story becomes engaging enough to draw anyone in, making this a fine entry into the modern war film genre. Movies
From the start, the MPEG-2 transfer wows the viewer with bold color, bright contrast, and deep blacks. For the most part, this stays true for the rest of the film as well. Sharpness and detail are top tier, with every pore on Sam Jackson’s face visible during close ups. The black levels become an issue at times, wavering from superb, to fair, down to abysmal. Long shots tend to suffer from minor artifacting and noise.
Home delivers a fine DTS-HD mix when the action picks up. The opening action sequence is demo material without question. Bass is outstanding, gunfire rings in from all directions, and dialogue is still kept in the mix cleanly. Even the scenes prior to this have a nice level of ambiance, like trucks shuffling around and random chatter. Past the opening (and one other action sequence), there’s nothing left to discuss. Ambiance drops out, and center channel dialogue is all that remains. Audio
Irwin Winkler, Mark Friedman, and producer Rob Cowan join in for a commentary, making the trivia track that’s included seem somewhat redundant (especially since it takes up a lot of screen real estate). The only other extra is a selection of deleted scenes (with an optional commentary) that run just shy of eight minutes. Extras