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:: A Fighting Season

Director Oden Roberts draws upon his own experiences of being recruited by the Army from high school, allowing us a look behind the curtain of the controversial recruiting practices of the US Army post 9/11. Driven by powerhouse performances from Lew Temple and Clayne Crawford, A Fighting Season really shines a light on the mental effects of war and the harsh and immoral recruitment of dis-advantaged and under privileged people just to achieve an office target.

The 9/11 incident saw all time high numbers of volunteers for all branches of the service. The story is one that is tinged with cynicism and includes a world weary warrior. Sgt. Mason (Crawford) is classified as a war hero. Wounded in action, the soldier has injuries that are much deeper than anyone knows. He is struggling to survive life outside the war zone. He is the most honourable man in this mix of soldiers whose only casualties are the naïve youth they target. While the rest focus on fear of the enemy and ignorance, Mason takes a different road. He is ultimately put in charge but the promotion is an empty one and his victory is, in the end, hollow.

Roberts' film is an often eye-opening and emotionally engaging look at a little known facet of Army life and a timely reminder to all of the costs associated with running a war that feels as though it may never truly come to an end. It looks harshly at the whole system of Army recruitment and paints a pretty unflattering picture of the men who prey on America’s youth to fill their numbers. The film may leave a sour taste in the mouth on an ethical note but it's worth seeing just for the terrific acting performances.

The Fighting Season has now been released worldwide on VOD.