This drama concerns a family frozen in grief since the Vietnam War, but it's hard to sympathize with the characters because they keep having the same argument over and over, at progressively higher decibel levels.
In the decades since his son, war hero Brendan Calden, went missing in North Vietnam, George Calden (Ed Asner) has written his Indiana congressman and pestered the US Military about locating his body. After the Vietnamese government softens its policy concerning MIAs, George gets the go-ahead for a recovery mission. Bob Calden (Robin Thomas), who served alongside his
unfortunate brother, has mixed feelings about their father's "good news" and bristles at the noblesse oblige attitude third brother Sean (Richard Cox), a draft dodger who now offers his company jet for the trip. While the chronically ill George makes it clear that this family venture should include both Sean and Bob’s teenaged son, Patrick (Adam Brody), he withholds vital information about his heart condition from the family. Already reluctant to revisit Vietnam, which he remembers as a wartime hellhole, Bob suspects that Sean is using his good deed as a pretext for doing business in the Far East. Once they arrive, US government representatives lend the Calden family two official liaisons, aircraft specialist Stan Wade (Harold Sylvester) and civilian field expert Julie
Conroy (Illeana Douglas). Bob and Sean are barely civil to each other, and when Patrick experiences puppy love via a local girl, Bob attacks her grandfather -- for Stan and Bob, the Vietnamese are still the enemy. Bob's rash action results in a temporary military shut-down of the dig, and with George’s health wilting in the heat, attitudes must change quickly if the Caldens are going to find Brendan’s remains.
Although the filmmakers deserve credit for addressing touchy subject matter, the screenwriters Christopher D. White, Josh Lieber and Audrey Arkins are more at ease handling sibling rivalry than larger ideas about moral imperatives
and collective guilt.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: This drama concerns a family frozen in grief since the Vietnam War, but it's hard to sympathize with the characters because they keep having the same argument over and over, at progressively higher decibel levels. In the decades since his son, war hero… (more)