When a man can’t seem to shake the demons of war, he comes precariously close to losing everything he holds dear, including his wife and child.
Chase Conner’s Less Lost is a narrative account of an army vet who’s forced into early retirement for medical reasons. Luke, the young soldier in question, serves in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and gives everything to his country, and the elite, Special Forces Group to which he belongs. Like many of his ilk, he suffers the polytraumatic effects of gunshot wounds, shrapnel throughout his body, traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, and intense migraines. But even worse than these, are the relentless bouts of post traumatic stress, where visions of the past seem so close and tangible that no amount of drugs and alcohol can drive them away.
Unlike many soldiers who have nowhere to go when they return from battle, Luke has a beautiful wife named Jenn and a 6-year-old daughter named Faith, who worships her father. Unfortunately, no matter how hard Luke tries to resume his old life, the effects of war cause barriers so powerful that he soon finds himself alone with his violence.
It would be very easy for Less Lost to dissolve into melodrama, were it not for the strong writing of Chase Conner and Shane Fike. Simple in construct, the story strikes a subtle but universal chord, and that’s what separates it from most war films. What’s also noteworthy is that each character-portrayal is not only essential to the plot, but is so outstandingly realistic that it’s hard to believe that Less Lost is a work of fiction. What’s also appreciated is the complete absence of computer generated imagery during the battle scenes, which seem to be the norm in most contemporary movies. Again, a solid script, visuals that speak for themselves, and actors that are so tremendous that they don’t appear to be acting at all, remove any necessity for CGI as camouflage.
Surreally, I reviewed Less Lost while directly experiencing, like so many, the effects and aftermath of terror at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Interestingly, it was difficult to determine which existence felt more concrete at the time. That’s quite an accolade for Chase Conner and Company, and their unique abilities to compel us into their world at the expense of our own. I think my only negative criticism of this magnificent feature is its title, which seems a little lacking in the creativity department. Still, that seems pretty trite in the scheme of things, and as Shakespeare’s Juliette aptly says to Romeo, “What’s in a name?”
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