I've had a chance to watch a few of Stacey Stone's short films. She has a knack for the war related documentaries - and I'm a real sucker for them. They always tug at the heartstrings, and also have a tendency to get the gears in my mind turning. There's no question - when it comes to this type of film and this genre, she is a queen. "Forever Under Siege" along with "My Own War" and "Gander: America's Hero Dog" should all be packaged together, and presented as a box set. They each feature a lot of the same people and each tell a good story. I use the term "good" rather loosely, as the content itself is by no means good, when writing in context. Good, as in a good and entertaining viewing experience. Full of interesting and saddening facts regarding war. "Forever Under Siege" is no different. It's quite hard to take your eyes away, and some of the things you'll find you've learned are disturbing. For a good many reasons.
"Forever Under Siege" has a more personal feeling I thought, than the previously mentioned films. More emphasis on the mental aspects of war itself - including PTSD, it's symptoms, and even some of the therapies devised to try and help. It's true that all of Stone's war films have touched on the same subjects in one form or another, this one seems more focused on the war veterans themselves however. There were some truly scary stories and some facts I've never heard before. Such as those nightmarish spiders, and some really touching trips back in time. The story about the shells that "didn't" explode, and why, was a real tear jerker for me. Stories aside, what always gets me, is that glimpse into the day to day of these true life heroes. What these men and women go through in the aftermath is truly sad. The fact that until quite recently, the general public really had no idea - is just as horrific as many scary movies you'll see now days. Until recently, the only people who really knew the mental hardships, was anyone directly involved with a returning soldier. Today, we all know better. Most of us know better. I still imagine that you'll learn a thing or two watching this short film, and there is no shame in that. We were never educated until recently about the realities of the soldier post wartime. The system made sure of that.
The visual presentation of "Forever Under Siege" is much like Stone's previous movies I've seen. Maybe a little slicker, but essentially the same. Believe it or not, this is a compliment. Stacey's style and ability to capture a "feeling" is a great gift for this type of film. There is a realism and grit when writing about her choices of footage to use, and how to put it all in place to compliment the stories being told. For any new eyes starting out with this film, you can expect a well put together documentary. Taped interview footage with the "stars" of the film, mixed with wartime photos and video. It's the sense of the individual that takes the spotlight here. These amazing people who have done amazing things for their country, only to essentially be stepped on as they returned home. Stacey Stone has remained true to her vision, and kept this film about the veterans themselves. Achieving this technically, is a huge step above many other documentaries. No overtly flashy bells and whistles... it's all about the people.
In the end, as I wrote above, this was another great film. There really isn't much else to write. If you've seen the previous movies I had mentioned above and enjoyed them, I have no doubt you'll enjoy this as well. If you haven't seen the other films, "Forever Under Siege" will probably force you to seek them out. There is some good information here, as well as a lot of sad material. One thing I know? This film really reminds me of just how much we, as a people, owe to our soldiers. It also solidifies my general disgust at what these people have had to endure when returning home, from the very government they've served. "Forever Under Siege" is highly recommended, and easily earns a four star rating - and I still think a box set would be an amazing idea.