Down From the Shelf ~ The Invisible War


The Facts:

Synopsis: An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Stars: Kori Cioca, Jessica Hinves, Ariana Klay, Trina McDonald, Elle Helmer, Hannah Sewell, Myla Haider, Paula Coughlin, Claudia Kennedy, Wilma L. Vaught, Loree Sutton, Dennis Laich, Susan Burke, Amy Herdy, Helen Benedict

Director: Kirby Dick

Rated: Not Rated

Running Length: 93 minutes

TMMM Score: (7/10)

Review:  Director Kirby Dick isn’t afraid to tackle a hot-button topic and his filmography proves it.  From exposing the movie ratings board in This Film is Not Yet Rated to digging into hypocrisy of closeted politicians lobbying for anti-gay legislation in Outrage, he consistently turns his lens on subjects that may not have a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of everyday Americans.  After being nominated back in 2005 for his child-abuse documentary Twist of Faith, he’s received another nomination for The Invisible War which looks at the growing number of rape cases reported within the US military.

Uncovering any military dirty laundry is always risky for any filmmaker but Dick was the right person to tell the stories of the women and men who were violated while serving their country.  Some of the stories are brief, all are horrific because you can see the weight these victims carry…victims that believed in the military service that ultimately failed to protect them.

It’s frustrating to listen to stories where the victim was called into question while the accused continued to rise up the ranks in their division.  Even with hard evidence very few of these attackers had any serious disciplinary action against them, often being allowed to continue working alongside the individual they raped.  While male victims are thrown into the mix the majority of interviewees are female – strong women who signed up for service to protect us that often found themselves put on trial for speaking up against their attackers. 

The courage of those willing to tell their stories makes this a worthy nominee and will hopefully bring about change in how these cases are handled in the future.

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