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Film review : Man down (2015)

Movie Rating:

In a post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, accompanied by his best friend and a survivor.Man Down

Genre : Drama/Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Shia LaBeouf : Gabriel Drummer
Jai Courtney : Devin Roberts
Kate Mara : Natalie Drummer

Director :
Dito Montiel

My opinion on “Man Down”

“So, anytime I want to say I love you, what am I going to say to you?
Man down.”

Man down” is a terribly underrated film in my opinion. No, it’s not a post-apocalyptic SF movie like there have been so many in recent years (both excellent and bad). And no, the main theme is not how a marine survives a tour in Afghanistan and returns as an outright war hero (as in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk“). The entire film is a mixture of three different timelines. Timelines that swing around a specific incident. An incident that had such an impact on Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf) that his vision about reality changed completely. The whole intent only becomes clear after the revelation in the end. And to be honest, I was a bit out of my depth. Even without the terrible statistics that were shown during the credits. To be honest, this was the only thing that bothered me. For me this is just used to strengthen the dramatic aspect.

Man down

I guess this movie is plain horrible.

To be honest, as prevention I’ve hesitated a long time to watch this film because of the rather serious criticism that circulated about it. When reading the quotes of digital articles, you’ll lose the will to watch this seemingly horrible film : “Man down is a Cliche-Ridden Mess“, “A meandering mystery“, “A disappointing hodgepodge of ideas and styles” and also “A convoluted tangle of idiotic timelines“. And the fact that only one entry ticket was sold at the premiere in the U.K. (I’ve read it here), wasn’t a good sign either. On the other hand, maybe this shows how impressionable the English are. Or does this say something about the taste of these always counter-acting islanders?

Man Down

3 Stories for the price of one .

“Man down” is an atypical war movie. The main topic is about the psychological damage caused to a soldier due to a traumatic experience. Many viewers will probably get crazy from the back and forth jumping between the different timelines. The first storyline deals with the family life of Gabriel and the start of his training as a marine which was recommended by his best friend Devin (Jai Courtney). Then there’s the Afghan storyline where there’s also a bit of switching from the battle and “the incident”, to the therapeutic sessions with Captain Peyton (Gary Oldman). Finally, there’s also a futuristic part. A future where the U.S. suffered from a devastating war and where Gabriel, along with Devin, traverses the ruined city in search of his son Jonathan (Charlie Shotwell). Sometimes it was difficult to follow. In hindsight, I have to admit that it’s brilliantly put together. The three stories are ingeniously interwoven and grow together towards the redeeming denouement.

Man down

The underlying message hits you like a sledgehammer.

Most likely this film will be an abomination for the impatient moviegoer. It seems as if nothing special happens for a long time. But it’s worth it to be patient for a little while longer. Even though I had a little hunch about the final outcome, it was still a surprise. And not only the underlying story appealed to me. I also appreciated the decent acting performances of Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Charlie Shotwell and Kate Mara. Of course, “The Deer Hunter“, “Coming Home” and “Jacob’s Ladder” are superior when it comes to films that handle the topic about PTSD. Maybe the story confuses. Perhaps it was an attempt to represent the psyche of such a person. The call to provide such help to those who suffer from PTSD is well-founded. But lets not forget about all those other individuals who go through a similar thing due to a different kind of traumatic experience.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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Movie-Freak
I'm Peter, production year 1966 and living in Belgium. I'm married with Veronika and together we have two lovely kids , Karolien (7y) and Filip (5y). I'm a big movie-fan. I've been watching movies all my life and lost count of how many I saw till now.

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