Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interactive film review: 'The War Inside'

As a volunteer, ROA’s legislative assistant (this writer) had the opportunity to participate in the GI Film Festival last week and attended the world premiere of The War Inside, an interactive film designed for service members to educate on behavioral health and post traumatic stress issues.

The movie provided insight into the psychological challenges of returning home after deployment with combat stress and its effects on others including the family.

Each audience member was provided a “clicker” for interaction.  Audience members were introduced to members of a platoon that have recently returned from deployment and are experiencing stress.  They then chose among characters– a wife trying to cope with her husband who’s changed, a Sergeant distancing himself from his wife, a young Specialist with severe stress on the verge of a meltdown, or a Platoon Sergeant having difficulty determining the appropriate command climate regarding behavioral health.  What followed was a brief segment about a situation that required a decision to be made. Options appeared on the screen and the audience member selected how the individual would respond. After a series of these segments, a result is reached which demonstrates their ability to make wise decisions. The goal is for the audience member to learn how different actions in such situations can change the end result for better or worse.

Though The War Inside was quite good, it could have included a better variety of characters. It did not address Guard and Reserve members who upon returning home lack the support of a post and have to transition back into civilian careers.  But the film, as one person stated during the event, is one more arrow to add to the quiver.  

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