Home of the Brave

March 1st, 2007


Home of the Brave

No valid json found

Still of 50 Cent in Home of the BraveStill of Jessica Biel in Home of the BraveIrwin Winkler and 50 Cent at event of Home of the BraveStill of Samuel L. Jackson in Home of the BraveStill of Jessica Biel in Home of the BraveStill of Jessica Biel in Home of the Brave

Three soldiers struggle to readjust to life at home after returning home from a lengthy tour in Iraq.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 5.6/10 (6,453 voted)

Critic's Score: 42/100

Director: Irwin Winkler

Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, 50 Cent, Jessica Biel

The day after they get the word they'll go home in two weeks, a group of soldiers from Spokane are ambushed in an Iraqi city. Back stateside we follow four of them - a surgeon who saw too much, a teacher who's a single mom and who lost a hand in the ambush, an infantry man whose best friend died that day, and a soldier who keeps reliving the moment he killed a civilian woman. Each of the four has come home changed, each feels dislocation. Group therapy, V.A. services, halting gestures from family and colleagues, and regular flashbacks keep the war front and center in their minds. They're angry, touchy, and explosive: can a warrior find peace back home?

Writers: Mark Friedman, Mark Friedman

Samuel L. Jackson - Will Marsh
Jessica Biel - Vanessa Price
Brian Presley - Tommy Yates
50 Cent - Jamal Aiken (as Curtis Jackson)
Christina Ricci - Sarah Schivino
Chad Michael Murray - Jordan Owens
Victoria Rowell - Penelope Marsh
Jeffrey Nordling - Cary (as Jeff Nordling)
Vyto Ruginis - Hank Yates
Sam Jones III - Billy Marsh
James MacDonald - Ray
Sandra Nelson - V.A. Hospital Doctor
Jack Serino - Pvt. Shar
Brendan Wayne - Spc. Pendilla
Mohamed Zinathlah - Amad Kamal

Taglines: Coming home is the real battle.


Official Website: 3L Filmverleih [Germany] | MGM [United States] |

Release Date: 1 March 2007

Filming Locations: Morocco

Box Office Details

Budget: $12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €89,779 (Spain) (1 April 2007) (120 Screens)

Gross: $204,331 (Spain)

Technical Specs


Factual errors: When one soldier is told to fire the AT-4 at a gunman on the roof, he is holding it backwards when he is firing it. The rocket comes out of the smaller end of the tube, not the larger.

Penelope Marsh: Will, what happened over there?
Will Marsh: I don't really remember. You know. It's like a dream. Hazy dream.
Penelope Marsh: Then tell me. I wanna know.
Will Marsh: Do you? Wanna know what a blast wound looks like? What an OR in the desert smells like? What really happens to them? How they die? You really wanna know? You want us to come back like nothing ever happened. You don't want to get your hands dirty with the details.

User Review

Horrifyingly incompetent butchering of an important topic

Rating: 1/10

Poor Tommy Yates (Brian Presley), one of the heroes of the Iraq war drama Home of the Brave, has fallen so far after his return home that the best job he can get is (shudder) working the box office at a movie theatre. He runs into Vanessa (Jessica Biel), who was hurt in the attack that killed his best friend, at the movie theatre; they chat about how hard it has been to adjust. Tommy notes that he sells "stupid tickets to these stupid movies," but he never goes to see them, because they "seem so unimportant."

There are no other scenes at Tommy's place of employment—he could work at any number of low-paying menial jobs. But screenwriter Mark Friedman works in that little piece of commentary to congratulate both himself and the viewer; the film you're watching is not like all those other "stupid movies," you see. It's important. The problem is that Home of the Brave is an execrable film, so poorly made and obvious that it is impossible to take seriously, no matter how earnest and noble the intentions. A bad film is a bad film, whether it concerns serious topics or not.

Most bad films can be blamed squarely on the script—and this one's a doozy—but Home of the Brave is incompetent on every level: bad writing, bad directing, bad music, bad editing, and mostly bad performances. Director Irwin Winkler started out as an accomplished producer, and bore that credit on many good films (Raging Bull and Rocky among them), but he has yet to direct a good film, after many tries (The Net, At First Sight, De-Lovely, Life as a House). There's no focus to this effort; the pacing plods, the performances are all over the place, and there's not a cliché in the war movie book that Winkler doesn't embrace (when Chad Michael Murray buys the farm early in the picture—to my immense relief—Winkler actually has his best buddy Presley run to him in slow motion, screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!").

The screenplay, by first-time screenwriter (and former Harvey Weinstein assistant) Mark Friedman, is astonishingly bad. Its poor quality sneaks up on you, since there's minimal dialogue before the first extended action sequence (though said dialogue does include the news that this Iraq company will be heading home inside of a week, which anyone who has ever seen a cop movie knows is a sure sign of impending death and destruction). But the dialogue is atrocious, the kind of corny, cliché-ridden platitudes that would get a quick rewrite on your average made-for-TV movie (which Home of the Brave, with its plinky piano music and slo-mo flashbacks, often recalls). For example, when he visits his buddy's widow (Christina Ricci, whose tiny role in a film this bad is entirely inexplicable), she asks, "Was he a hero, Tommy?" He replies, "He died defending his country." The whole script is like that.

And everyone gets a big monologue. Poor Jessica Biel actually has one where she tells the story of how she was injured—which we saw, in its entirety, in the opening sequence. Her telling adds no insight or additional perspective to the earlier scene; I guess it's there for people who showed up late (helpfully, footage from the scene is shown over her shoulder, as if she's Katie Couric or something). Victoria Rowell, as Samuel L. Jackson's wife, has a long monologue where she lists all of the things she did for their family while he was gone; he's aware of all of them ("I supported you when you enlisted!"), so this entire speech exists purely for our benefit. And so on. Even Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson gets a monologue, and whoa boy was that a bad idea. I know he's a tough guy (since he'll never shut up about how many times he's been shot), so I'm sure he can take the criticism he'll receive for his performance in this film. He's awful, all dead eyes and mumbled dialogue; given moments that require a real actor (like when he accidentally takes out an Iraqi civilian), Jackson's face registers nothing. Whatever you call him, Jackson or Fiddy, he stinks.

Brian Presley, who probably has more screen time than anyone, doesn't fare much better. The bulk of Presley's resume, according to IMDb, is on soap operas; this is his first major film, and with any luck, it will be his last. His line readings are stilted and unconvincing, his attempts at genuine emotion are laughable, and even a good actor would have trouble delivering his final "Dear Mom and Dad" voice-over well.

Samuel L. Jackson is good enough, I guess, but when is he going to get back to making good films? We've given him like ten years of paycheck roles now; it's time for him to stop phoning it in. He basically has to play the same notes that his contemporary Denzel Washington did in Courage Under Fire ten years ago; that was a brilliant, subtle performance, but even more so compared with Jackson's work here (his drunk act is about as nuanced as Foster Brooks'). The surprise of the film is Jessica Biel, who is actually the best thing in it, proving that her solid (but brief) turn in The Illusionist was no fluke. She has a couple of moments so honest, in fact, that they deserve to have been airlifted into a better film.

Believe it or not, I feel like I'm low-balling the sheer ineptitude of Home of the Brave; it really is inexcusably stupid, a mixture of every bad Lifetime drama, filtered through a hot topic to make it seem timely. And that's perhaps what is most reprehensible about the film: it is a ham-fisted, simple-minded, schlocky examination of an important subject. And for that, the people who made it should be ashamed of themselves.


Comments are closed.