The War At Home

WISDOM and MEN AT WORK were pretty dismal, but actor Emilio Estevez comes up with a surprise his third time out as director. His adaptation of James Duff's play is a thoughtful, competently directed portrait of an American family's disintegration in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Estevez stars as Jeremy Collier, a veteran gripped by traumatic stress...read more

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WISDOM and MEN AT WORK were pretty dismal, but actor Emilio Estevez comes up with a surprise his third time out as director. His adaptation of James Duff's play is a thoughtful, competently directed portrait of an American family's disintegration in the

aftermath of the Vietnam War. Estevez stars as Jeremy Collier, a veteran gripped by traumatic stress disorder and trapped in the bosom of his uncomprehending family. His father (Martin Sheen) can't understand why he won't just forget all about it and move on, while his narcissistic mother (Kathy

Bates) takes her son's increasingly antisocial behavior as a personal affront: "War doesn't make you rude to your parents," she cries, as Jeremy spins further and further out of control. Estevez is by no means a subtle director: This is the kind of film in which, after a big emotional blowout, a

character contemplates the shattered pieces of some precious knickknack. But he does demonstrate quite a flair for comedy -- despite the film's serious subject, it's often very funny. Bates is excellent, and Sheen's performance marks a high point in the actor's wayward career. The only weak link

in the otherwise tight ensemble is Estevez himself, who should have resisted the temptation and cast a stronger actor in the crucial lead.

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