Updated: Jul 27
You know a movie is set to amaze you when you find out the directors of 'Father Solider Son' had no intention to make a feature film. Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis set out to interview an American solider purely to unveil to the world the difficulties of going to war. What then follows is a gripping 10 year documentary of intense cinematography showcasing tragedy upon a close-knit family. The film largely focuses on the Eisch boys; Isaac (12) the oldest child who clings to his fathers uniform at the airport in tears, and Joey (7) the youngest, is a wrestler in the making wanting to succeed in his fathers footsteps by joining the army. The trailer succeeds in luring you into the true-to-life narrative; hinting at all the uncertainties around each bend of the plot. I buckled in to witness human emotion depicted at it's finest.
Beginning the movie, you have a mundane sense you're following what seems to be two young boys playing videos games and staring down empty driveways waiting for their father to return. But the devoted journalist's flip this thinking promptly with the first accident in Afghanistan as you're suddenly dragged into a dismay of grief. When Brian returns back to Wisconsin , the director shoves you deeply into the families daily routines of coping with the trauma. There is no acting, but you have a sense of real life interaction by seeking how they react.
The interviews with the two brothers growing up were so warming, as they chat to the camera lens about their beloved dad and his incredible job. It's even more harrowing to see them contradicting their own views of war on America as they grew up. It's a mix between 24 hours in A + E and Supernanny, as you see these lonesome lads grow up on camera.
The views of patriotism and war is a damp cloak laid upon the story. You experience how men can be one sighted into this idea of serving your country with so other little opportunities for them around. It's cleverly portrayed by the interviews with the Father and his sheer dedication to fight. What's even more worrying is the realisation of how many children's paths are being altered due to their parents choices. The editing stood out exceptionally in this piece, with 10 years of footage, it's astonishing to see talented creatives cut this down to 2 hours of beautiful storytelling. The last few wide shots of Issac standing row by row with thousands of new recruits, about to be sent off for duty, was a clever and harrowing end on a dramatic story about human loss.
Documentaries are not easy watches. You don't start them in the hope to try and shadow the brutal realities of life with fairytales and mysteries. There were moments in this movie I felt a whole new level of intrusion was being opened up on these young boys lives. It was shocking to understand they lived through this with a camera by their side for so many years; however, how are we meant to obtain the real intensity of reaction's without documenting it first hand.
This film gives you a whole new perspective on the outsiders of war. Even the filmmakers themselves were unaware of the scale and difficulty of seeing a families path change. I myself was stunned to understand that even after all the pain and horror, this fascination to fight for your country is still today engrained from generation to generation. It's a dejected feature, one that will anger you with sorrow for this household, but the dedication to tell the story by the female directors and the crew makes it an unmissable sight on our screens.