War stories, despite their imminent tragedy, carry a sonnet in them. Strange as it might seem, as a eulogy for the alive, war stories are perplexing to the human mind, because these ones don’t become any more bearable even on hindsight. We humans ironically have the appetite to hear tales from the battlefield and yet only some of us have the gut to stomach it. ‘A Soldier’s Judgment’ is one such account; which we’d love to hear, but dread to witness.
‘A soldier’s Judgment’ is a first-hand narrative of Jason, by Jason (Josh Carlin) as he ponders over his actions, long after the battle days are done. His scars are evident, but not on his body, but his mind as he recounts his actions to the bartender, Mark (Robbie Bennett). He recalls them with a hint of bitter-sweetness to it, the time spent in every post assigned to him.
His stories replete with touching human bonds forged, it doesn’t take much for the audience to feel connected to this man ranting his emotions out on a quarter. As he recounts his military operations undertaken and the difficulty of not only making the split-second decisions which are so common in combat but the difficulty of living with them later, the story begins to take a poignant form. We get to witness combat through the words of a man who himself is quite unsure of the choices he made.
He wonders if his actions, even if they were in the name of his King and country were worth the price he has paid, that with his soul. Finally, it’s the judgment day and he waits with open arms to face the consequences of his actions. Carlin shows enough character strength to pass off as a soldier. His rich baritone, sardonic smile and sadness are genuine, hence effective. Bennett as the bartender plays the role to perfection. He becomes the friend, confidante and the gentle narrative puller as and when needed. His easy talk steers the conversation between the two and the narrative effortlessly. Both share easy chemistry and make for a good team.
Writer/Producer Darren Tompkins has smartly kept the narrative simple and impactful, not introducing too many characters. What stands out most is his respect for the audience. By keeping the visuals to minimal, he doesn’t draw the battleground for you, instead lets your mind wander into the horrors of it yourself. Director David Black is an absolute genius to have flipped the usual, expected climax to an unexpected twist that is made to blow your mind away. It’s a well-known fact that for many honest conversations come only from inebriated senses; this one’s pain will wish you too were a little aided to withstand the verdict!
‘A Soldier’s Judgment’ is impressive and hard-hitting and worth the 22:52 minutes of its runtime!#ShortFilmReview: 'A Soldier's Judgement' Is A Moving Recollection Of A Soldier From His Time At The Front… Click To Tweet