“Battle Scars” examines the war experience as well as the wrenching change many veterans face on returning home.
“Battle Scars” is dedicated to those who suffer from PTSD while serving abroad in the military. PTSD is a real problem affecting real people every day, and those suffering deserve respect. Men and women have given up their safety to ensure the security of the country. I love the idea of a movie paying tribute to those affected by stress from service. Unfortunately, this movie failed to pay homage to those afflicted during service. Written and directed by Danny Buday, the story is more a soap opera than a tribute to the military.
Zane Holtz plays Luke Stephens, a man injured in the war in Afghanistan. Out of the service, Luke cannot cope with the baggage he carries, along with his wife’s, and decides to seek solace at a strip club. In his drunken state, Luke doesn’t tip his waitress Michelle (Heather McComb), and she retaliates by stealing his credit card and racking up a bunch of charges. Luke avoids his wife by going to his brother Nicky’s (Ryan Eggold) house where he ends up running into Michelle, and her stripper friend Summer (Kristen Renton) who is dating Nicky. Now out nine grand, Luke figures out the charges on his card happened after his visit to the strip club and tries to fix the problem with a run-in with the deadly Russian owner Rifka (Fairuza Balk). She doesn’t take kindly to the accusations against her employee and has Luke assaulted. Then she finds out Michelle stole from her too and has Michelle beaten and forced to run for her life.
Luke comes to Michelle’s defense and finds himself in the hospital. Not wanting his family to find out the extent of his medical damage in the military, Luke asked Michelle to sneak him out of the hospital as she already knows his injuries involve his groin area. Through all this drama the camera snaps back to Luke’s time overseas. To the explosion that led him to be medically discharged and took the life of his friend. Lunch with Luke’s ex-marine father shows the tumultuous relationship he has with his family, and why he avoids sharing information about his injuries with his father and brother.
The movie spirals even further as Michelle and Luke form an awkward bond on the run. Meanwhile, brother Nicky and his girlfriend Summer are forced to deal with the aftermath of Rifka who is out for Michelle for the money she stole. The movie does not improve as we follow Luke in his fight with Rifka and back to his wife.
Why make a film about PTSD that focuses so little on the problem and instead deteriorates into a B-rated flick? Based on this film the only possible conclusions are that Danny Buday has no understanding of the military or no respect for them. His disregard for the actual problem and turning the plot to some awkward showdown between a stripper and her boss does nothing to show the genuine issues faced by those with PTSD. A documentary would have been more respectful. A film focusing on the topic would have been more worthy of the time and money spent. Starting the film with facts about survivors and how little money they receive and then leading into this film, is crazy with a capital C. If you are wondering why you haven’t heard about this movie, it’s because it’s not worthy of any recognition.
Danny Buday should be ashamed of himself. No one thinks PTSD, or war, and comes up with a stripper, mutilated genitalia, and a Russian mob type boss. Make a movie about the severity of suffering in relationships. Show us the suicides that take place after service. Tell us about the emotional turmoil of this very real problem. Or maybe learning to acclimate back into the world after time in the military. Anything but what this film showed. Real people are broken by their time in war and this film makes a mockery of those who have served.
In theaters and on VOD Friday, July 14th