Sgt. Will Gardner is an excellent movie, a powerful movie dealing with a timely Subject Matter that will haunt most Veterans who watch it. It is compelling, revealing, and most of all-so very truthful. Friends, I am no movie critic but I promise you that I do, at times, take a moment to acknowledge excellent acting and excellent story-line and an issue that is dear to my own heart and that is finding aid for all Veterans who still walk among us feeling lost and totally left out. Dear Lord, we need to do so much more.
This movie is just about as haunting a movie as I have ever witnessed about the end results that most people never have a clue about. And it is what our brave men and women go thru in Combat situations. Bombs exploding do take their toll on people as much as all the sights and sounds. This movie has totally been misinterpreted by some critics who don’t have a clue. They missed the “real message” and maybe, just maybe, that message was meant only for all Veterans and our families who have witnessed the moments of sufferings. I give this movie a 5-Star Rating in every sense of the word. But speaking of misinterpretations-
“There’s many a boy here today that looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell.” –General William T. Sherman, Address, 1880
While I was Overseas in South Korea, a fellow Soldier tried to kill himself and I often have thought about that among many other things that keep creeping back from the past. But dang, this movie is the picture that best brings that Overseas experience back to reality for me because of the TBI that I saw other Soldiers exhibiting. And this movie just maybe might get some Veterans to begin to talk about that experience. But also, maybe, just maybe, everyone will begin to realize the hurt and pain that many Veterans are dealing with. And that pain for my generation was from the Vietnam War. In this movie, it is the Iraq War. Or the Iraq Wars or our continuing “Police Action” by American Troops there and in Syria and in other Countries around the Globe.
Over thirty-five years ago, I went to go visit my retired-Lt. Colonel Uncle lying in a hospital bed dying of caner and he was in a room with other Veterans. I loved seeing him and he was always genuinely grateful for my visits. He was a proud man, a defiant man. A man who was a Veteran in every sense of the word having fought in WWII, Korea, and in Vietnam in Combat Engineers. But on that hospital bed, he was just a man. A man dying of the “Big C”. But Lord did I love him. And the thing I miss the most were the times that he drunk liquor and sang the rousing songs from WWII and he loved it when anyone would join in the song with him. He’s a man that my own kids never had the opportunity to meet. And he died shortly after our 1st child was born. Then on one visit and all of a sudden and catching totally by surprise, a man, a WWII Veteran, whom I had watched do absolutely normal things in that very same room on many other times there when suddenly the man burst out screaming as loud as he could scream. His screaming reached deep into my heart, my mind, and maybe into my Soul. And he would not quit. And none of the other Veterans flinched at all. They merely observed him. And I asked my uncle what was going on with the screaming man?
“That’s shell-shock,” he said as I too watched the man scream like his whole body was on fire. And my uncle told me it was where a Soldier was too close to the explosions during a battle like tank rounds, mortar rounds, bombs, hand grenades, or artillery rounds exploded too close to a person. And it messed-up their brain, their mind. And now, maybe today that same thing that they called in WWII Veterans as Shell Shock would be called “TBI” like in Sgt. Will Gardner. TBI-traumatic brain injury.
But, the acting in this movie is superb. Matt Martini does an exceptional job of acting portraying a Veteran with TBI and beside him is another superb acting job done by Omari Hardwick. And what Mr. Hardwick’s character role that he is playing reminds me so much of what my fellow Soldiers and I went thru tying to keep fellow Soldiers from killing himself and, sadly, he wasn’t the only Soldier who tried to kill themselves Overseas. One trip, for me, riding in a Huey Medical Helicopter holding the hand of a fellow Soldier still lives inside of me and I see him everyday and have never told anyone in my family about it. Not even my wife, not anyone until now as I write about it. I still haven’t found the words that can exit from my mouth about it and I have accepted the fact that I never will. I did attempt to use VA to get thru it but the VA is just what the guy in the movie says they are. Fellow Veterans, if you carry pain, I cannot say that there is help out there because I found none. But maybe when my wife reads this, she will understand me just a little bit more of times I left her side and my mind took me elsewhere.
But, whatever took place with my fellow Veterans in their tour in Vietnam that haunted and harmed them so badly in Vietnam followed them and they tried to kill themselves in South Korea. Sad, so very sad. I now wonder how many Veterans have been successful in killing themselves from all Wars. And how many more will be.
But again, this movie I have to give it 5-STARS on all bases. On acting, on story-line, on script writing, on casting, on location, on wardrobe, on Production, on Directing, and for anyone and everyone who had anything to do with the making of this movie. It is a movie that will place a tear or two or many in your eyes for sure.
And the poetry that is recited in this movie is haunting. And like it, most individuals tend to put words down that are just as serious as their tour is. Putting down the right words and not words that are bogus. In it is the poem, “The Road Not Taken”. And a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake-“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves…”.
Fellow VETERANS! Friends, and fellow Americans, take some timeout and watch this movie. It’s subject matter is one of the most difficult things and most misunderstood things that many Veterans are having to deal with every single day of their lives. It is a crippling disease. And for God’s Sake, if you know of a Veteran or anyone contemplating suicide, please let the right people know immediately because the life you save might be your mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, or friend or a even a total stranger. Help them please.
And no, this movie will not heal a Veteran, but it just might open those eyes from that distant shore that some of us Vets have never returned from.
For me and maybe for you too, the message I got out of this movie was that I needed to call some fellow Vets. and always keep checking in on them so that they don’t try and take the easy road out of this life. And I always stop and give money to the ones holding “Help Me” signs because I have always thought that just one of them might be an Angel and that God is testing me. Maybe it will be an Angel that you are giving money to and God is testing you out too. Don’t moralize about a few bucks. It just doesn’t matter. You had it, you gave it, so don’t go telling folks about it cause it is only between God and you. You done a good deed. Feel good and let it go. God Bless.
~the living Breathing James Brown, US Army Veteran, author.
The following is from the following site-
Sgt. Will Gardner
|Sgt. Will Gardner|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Max Martini|
|Produced by||Michael Hagerty
|Written by||Max Martini|
|Edited by||Tim Silano|
|Distributed by||Cinedigm Entertainment Group|
Sgt. Will Gardner is an American film directed and written by Max Martini. The film stars Martini, Dermot Mulroney, Gary Sinise, and Robert Patrick, telling the story of a disabled Iraq War veteran, Will Gardner, who is suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he sustained while in combat. After a series of setbacks, he goes on a cross-country motorcycle journey to reassemble his life and his family.
Martini and Michael Hagerty produced the film under Mona Vista Productions. Martini has pledged 30% of the film’s proceeds to three charities that support veterans suffering from TBI, PTSD, and veteran homelessness.
- “Sgt. Will Gardner”. AMC Theatres. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
- David, Mark (16 October 2018). “Dermot Mulroney Flips Home Near Hancock Park”. Variety.
- N’Duka, Amanda (24 October 2018). “Cinedigm Recruits Max Martini, Omari Hardwick, Gary Sinise Military Drama ‘SGT. Will Gardner‘“. Deadline.
- Michaels, Melissa (18 December 2018). “Max Martini Shares Insight Into His Directorial Debut”. L’Etage Magazine.