A Marine Story

A Marine Story


Reviewed by: James Benefield

A Marine Story is a little like a TV movie of the week with a little more swearing and some unusually good cinematography. That said, there's a story here which needs to be told.

Dreya Weber stars as Alexandra Everett, a marine who is coming home to the US from duty in Iraq, giving her reason as an 'honourable discharge'. People in her home town are surprised to see her as she was expected to hole up in the desert for a while. However, her acquaintances don't probe too much into it.

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Following the advice of the local sheriff, she soon takes a young tearaway, Saffron (Paris Pickard) under her wing but it doesn't prove enough distraction from why she's back. It turns out that Alexandra has been a victim of the (now hopefully outgoing) US 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy which sees members of the armed forces expelled from the military for coming out, or being forced to come out, as gay.

Weber's performance is the glue that binds this movie together. She's got a disarming screen presence with a face that is not read easily. Weber imbues the role with knowing contradictions - she's a character of gravitas and strength whose circumstances are threatening to break her and draw out any chinks in her considerable armour. For me, however, Weber's control didn't quite transcend an annoyingly predictable narrative.

Part of this predictability emanates from a confused structure. The first 20 minutes plays with the idea of telling the audience about the core subject of the film - the reason why Everett has been dismissed - or just showing us the human consequences of such a decision, presumably leading us to a big reveal in the second half. It's a high-wire act that works quite well, separating politics from human tragedy.

Then, the screenplay loses its nerve and blurts out the central issue. The film's parallel narrative of a wannabe mother-daughter relationship, between Alexandra and Saffron, subsequently feels overshadowed and oddly distracting.

A frustrating result then, from a story that initially promised much. Perhaps when some historical perspective is gained, or when American cinema is ready to tell this story properly, we will have a film which really cuts to the bone.

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2011
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A Marine Story packshot
A highly capable soldier who is quietly dismissed after it's discovered she's a lesbian takes on the training of a troubled local teenager who wants to join up.
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Director: Ned Farr

Writer: Ned Farr

Starring: Dreya Weber, Paris P Pickard, Christine Mourad

Year: 2010

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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