“In the end, my story, in Iraq and afterward, is about more than just killing people or even fighting for my country. It’s about being a man. And it’s about love as well as hate.”
Jason Innocent’s “peculiar” film Masculinity opens with that quote from Chris Kyle. For those who recognize the name but cannot quite place it, Kyle was a highly decorated Navy SEAL sniper, on whom the Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper was based (on Kyle’s book). Innocent zeroes in on the second to the last line for his 15-minute examination of the pressures society puts on men, how those expectations have evolved, and how modern-day men deal with said issues.
“…15-minute examination of the pressures society puts on men, how those expectations have evolved…”
To accomplish this feat, the writer and director sent out questions to several men and women for a wide array of viewpoints, opinions, and perspectives. Now, herein lies the problem with Masculinity, as neither the question prompts (though I assume it was just what does masculinity mean to you?) nor the names of those responding appear on screen. As such, following each person’s train of thought, as the interviews are spliced together, not one after the other, can be a bit tricky.
The editing is quite good, though, as like ideas from each interviewee are structured together. However, it is the transition from one idea to the next that makes things so complicated. The delineation of hearing one person’s thoughts into the history of how being aggressive and emotionless was sold to the public as the only true way of being a man and back again is not clear. This means that Masculinity does not fire on all cylinders at all times.
"…Innocent’s little experiment winds up working..."