PUNCH DRUNK CRITICS: Review: ‘Mending The Line’
June 9, 2023
A Predictable Tale Of PTSD And Healing Gets Elevated By Powerhouse Performances Across The Board
As many of our Middle East wars are drawing down, Hollywood is continuing its trend of capturing the experience soldiers had while in that war, but more importantly, telling intimate stories of the brave men and women as they adjust back to civilian life once their tours of duty are over. Last year’s Causeway explored the notion of trauma from coming back home and displayed just how versatile actors Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry really are (even netting Henry his first of probably many Oscar nominations). This year’s latest film from director Joshua Caldwell: Mending The Line also explores the ramifications of war, survivor’s guilt, and the need to heal from trauma to move forward, and it also gets to teach you a whole bunch about fly-fishing.
While Mending The Line is a story about war, we only get to really see the notion of “war is hell” in the first few opening minutes, as the rest of the film is quiet, methodical, and really takes its time to explore the human condition and the need to move beyond the pain. John Colter (Sinqua Walls) is a soldier in Afghanistan who volunteers his unit for “one last mission” prior to them getting shipped back home. Unfortunately, things go awry as his unit is ambushed and most of his squad that he leads are killed by insurgents. In the aftermath, Colter is dealing with many injuries, both physical and more importantly, mental.