FILM INFO: An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at some point in their lives. My Own War is an intimate portrait of people affected by PTSD and traumatic experiences.
WRITTEN BY: Stacey Stone DIRECTED BY: Stacey Stone GENRE: Doc TIME: 52 minutes.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a relatively new diagnosis first coined in 1980 and quickly taken into the limelight throughout the years since. Most commonly, it's attributed to soldiers, but especially recently, a lot of coverage has been given to any persons suffering a traumatic event in their lives. As the title suggests, "My Own War" focuses on veterans, as we follow along through clips and interviews conducted within the film. I'm not going to lie and say there's anything new or unheard of here. Most of us know of PTSD and understand the condition. We do this, however, from outside the box, so to speak. Judging and forming opinions from a safe mental distance. For people such as myself who have never experienced the symptoms first-hand, "My Own War" does an excellent job helping to understand what these folks go through during their day-to-day. For the uninitiated, again, such as myself, it's an enlightening yet sad journey. For those who are suffering from PTSD, or those that think they may be experiencing it, "My Own War" will probably serve better as a tool. Something to let them know they are not alone in their struggles, to hear similar stories and feelings from others. Maybe give these people enough insight to seek help. However, from the perspective of pure entertainment value, and interest level, writer and director Stacey Stone provides a vehicle for the people in this movie to tell their stories - in a way that will keep the average viewer watching throughout the fifty minutes. These stories, as individual parts or as a whole film, do indeed have power, moving beyond the medical aspects of the movie and landing flat within the realm of what it means to love and serve your country. One of my favorite aspects of this movie is that Stacey Stone allows the focus to spread out, going well above the sterile environment of the medical, and into the human heart itself. My favorite scenes come at the end and are considered such not because they are happy, rather because they are a mixed bag. These segments really made me feel for these people and involve a single question. Would you do it again? I'll leave the answers behind closed doors, waiting for your eyes and ears to hear and understand. As a production, "My Own War" is another great example of the current quality of independent film. Never coming across as cheap or "indie," this title played like many of it's heavily budgeted counter-parts. It seemed to me a lot of effort went into the sound and dialog mixing, which makes perfect sense since this is a documentary. Still, it's always nice when you can look away from the screen for a few seconds, and still know exactly where the movie is going. That's not to say that the movie suffers visually in any way, because it doesn't. Not every shot is perfect but considering this is a doc; they don't need to be. All of this is pieced together by a nicely paced edit, allowing the film to smoothly flow from start to finish. Post-production-wise, a nice job all around. The simple reality is that Stacey Stone has put together a solid, entertaining, yet educational film. I really felt for some of the people interviewed here. As stated in the movie: People should never forget. No. They should not. Some will never know what it's like to live through the traumatic events these people have lived, and that's the point. They did it so we wouldn't have to, and I myself am forever grateful. With that said, why is anyone surprised that this sacrifice would come with an added mental cost? People the world over say PTSD is an exaggerated condition, but these are people that have lived their lives in comfort, paid for by someone else. I am one of those people, but have no doubt the price paid by the soldiers of the country. "My Own War" shines not only because it sheds some light on PTSD, but because it doesn't stop there. For that, this is one film I would highly recommend to anyone. -MC